-Whaler from Smeerenburg
Excavation day two
It is a lot of hard and compact clay in the coffin. We hav not found any textiles or objects.
The coffin lid was taken off. The excavation started in the area where the head is.
The skull and the top of the upper body with the ribs have come to light.
At the skull three very well-preserved hedges were found.
The teeth look fresh and have no signs of wear or tearing.
The wood in the coffin is well preserved and we have documented the forged nails that were used.
The coffin is full of thick clay, so the excavation takes time.
About the excavation in its entirety:
Lise Loktu, Counselor of Cultural Heritage, The Governor of Svalbard Environmental Department:
Now we are in the process of excavating the coffin from Smeerenburg!
For the archaeologists, great excitement is attached to what is actually preserved by remains and equipment in this grave.
Much of the knowledge we have from the earliest whaling period in Svalbard is based on archaeological excavations of graves and settlements that were conducted in this area in the 80’s.
Due to good conservation conditions, very well-preserved skeletons, clothing and equipment were found in the graves.
The graves from this period is therefore considered rare and unique cultural heritage because they represent a unique source of knowledge about this activity.
However, after the excavation at Likneset in 2016, we have reason to believe that the conservation conditions of the whaling graves are changing as a result of a warmer climate.
If the permafrost’s freezing effect is about to change, this means that especially textiles, but also the skeletons may be gone in a few years.
This is an all-natural process, but since these graves can contain knowledge we will not be able to gather elsewhere, we need to know more about what we stand above to better manage this material.
October 1st – January 31th, 12:00-17:00
February 1st – September 30th, 10:00-17:00
For more detailed information, see opening hours
We would also remind you that it is possible to order books on email: email@example.com.
It is worth to stop by the museum shop when visiting our exhibition!
The museum shop offers a wide-reaching selection of Svalbard- and arctic literature in several languages.
We also sell fossils, jewellery and craft art made by local craftsmen and -women, as well as postcards featuring Svalbard images, maps and posters.
If you are interested in a booklist or would like to order any books from our shop, you are welcome to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org