Climate in the Arctic is changing faster than anywhere else on our planet. This amplified transformation has far-reaching global consequences in the form of sea-level rise, ocean circulation perturbations, biodiversity loss, and changes in international shipping (as sea-ice retreats). Despite these impacts, the future trajectory of change in the region remains insufficiently understood, mostly due to a lack of baseline data. Paleoclimate data are well-suited to fill this critical knowledge gap, especially when covering periods of high-amplitude rapid change akin to modeled projections. In the Arctic, these efforts are typically hindered by the fact that records extending beyond the comparatively stable current Holocene interglacial have often been eroded by subsequent glaciation. On Svalbard, recent work has demonstrated that these rare pre-Holocene deposits exist in particular areas that remained ice-free, deglaciated early, or were shielded from erosion by a cover of non-erosive ice. ExPal seeks to advance this research frontier by 1) identifying first-order research questions should the paleo perspective on Arctic surface change be extended, 2) enshrining these in a white paper for future collaboration, 3) collecting pre-Holocene sediment archives from the most promising areas on the archipelago, and 4) generate a high-impact pilot dataset that will serve as a steppingstone for future proposals.