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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Svalbard Archaeology Symposium 2023

Awarded: NOK 0.25 mill.

The Arctic environment is changing in a rapid and dramatic manner, and cultural heritage in Svalbard and other places is under pressure due to climate change and increased tourism in addition to the ongoing natural processes and mere age-related degradation. The current cultural heritage policy for Svalbard is to preserve a representative selection of sites and objects for the future. Cultural heritage management strategies have mainly focused on protection and preservation of known exposed sites and objects, and initiatives on monitoring and rescue excavations have been a main concern for the Governor of Svalbard as the responsible authority. However, management of cultural heritage in Svalbard is currently suffering from a lack of research activity providing relevant knowledge for short and long-term decision-making and strategies. Limited available resources and capacity have forced a prioritization of precarious situations that require immediate attention at the expense of research on cultural historical aspects of gathered data and information. Without continuous research producing new knowledge and updating our understanding of Svalbard’s cultural history, the terms “representative selection” and “high cultural historic value” become static phrases devoid of relevance and value as guiding principles. Given the current projections for climate change and increased tourism, it will become increasingly important to fill critical knowledge gaps to meet the current and future challenges facing Arctic cultural heritage. Considerable amounts of valuable data have been collected over the last decades, and with the adoption of new technologies and methods this trend will continue. This workshop will establish research consortiums to identify knowledge gaps and take initiatives to fill these gaps using existing data from past projects or by developing collaborative projects.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum