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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Sustainability for cultural heritage – cultural heritage for sustainability. Interdisciplinary field research at Kvitøya

Tildelt: kr 0,12 mill.




2024 - 2025

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The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration involving NIKU, Luleå University of Technology, Karolinska Institute, Svalbard Museum, and the Swedish National Heritage Boardaims. It aims to explore and document archaeological source material, as well as register and document the cultural environment at the Andrée expedition's death camp on Kvitøya. This is recognized by the Governor as the most prominent cultural site in Northeast Svalbard. Here, Andrée, Frænkel, and Strindberg established camp in October 1897, following a grueling three-month journey southward over the sea ice after the crash of the Örnen balloon in July, 1897. The last entry in the diary, discovered in 1930, is dated October 17, 1897. New findings by Uusma's team suggest that the diary entry predates their departure, implying that the expedition members likely died earlier than previously thought. While many items from the site have been preserved in museums, some remain on-site, vulnerable to trampling and souvenir collection, weather, or visiting animals. The project aims to locate and document human remains to prevent damage. Despite investigations since the 1930s, questions persist about the final days of the expedition members. Recent advances in osteoarchaeological, medical, and forensic analysis provide an opportunity for new scientifically supported knowledge on this subject. However, historical remains are increasingly vulnerable due to climate change and heightened visitation, underscoring the urgency of acquiring hidden knowledge. The project, approved under the Svalbard Environmental Act, will investigate and document archaeological source material, registrate and document the cultural environment. If weather/ice conditions prevent landing on Andréeneset, the research group will investigate Virgohamna, the departure site of the Andrée expeditions, applying the same methods.


SSF-Svalbard Science Forum