"Heritage at Risk": Cultural Heritage Management in the Antarctic

Author(s): Sherrie-lee Evans

Year: 2007


Currently, the greatest threat to Antarctic heritage sites comes not from climate change but from the management of these sites by Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCP’s) – in particular, by their implementation of Annex III of the Madrid Protocol.

The Protocol generated a political urgency to ‘clean up the environment’ which has increased the risk of damage to cultural resources. While, the cleanup requirements in Annex III stipulate that cleanup should not damage historic items, the lack of an adequate definition of what constitutes an ‘historic item’ (particularly in relation to archaeological deposits composed of discarded items) continues to put historic resources at risk of being removed as rubbish.

A case study of the history of the Australian Government Antarctic Division’s (AGAD) management of Wilkes Station as a cultural heritage resource reflects the history of the engagement of the Antarctic Treaty System, and of the AGAD in particular, with the management of Antarctic heritage in general. The heritage values of the Wilkes station currently have no legislative protection under either Australian or international law, but the Australian Government Antarctic Division (AGAD) remains committed to progressing a long term plan for the clean up of the Site.

This paper argues for the crucial importance of a legislative and management regime for Antarctic heritage conservation which is based on an understanding of the cultural heritage significance of sites.

Cite this Record

"Heritage at Risk": Cultural Heritage Management in the Antarctic. Sherrie-lee Evans. Presented at ICOMOS 2007- eXtreme heritage; The heritage of Polar Landscapes, James Cook University, Cairns, Oueensland, Australia. 2007 ( tDAR id: 375109) ; doi:10.6067/XCV85T3JNK


Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1957 to 1969

Spatial Coverage

min long: 114.302; min lat: -67.204 ; max long: 117.246; max lat: -66.143 ;

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