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Details of a science project

Zooarchaeology of surface remains at a Russian Pomor hunting site


The project will involve comprehensive mapping and surface survey (no excavation or collection) of a large bone scatter at the 18th century Pomor hunting station Dolerittneset, Kapp Lee, Edgeøya. This full documentation of all visible animal bones, artifacts and ecofacts will shed light on Pomor walrus hunting and processing at Kapp Lee and elsewhere in Svalbard; such a detailed zooarchaeological analysis of surface midden-scatter can provide abundant information on the timing and methods of these practices.

Site locations and descriptions
The focus site of the project is Dolerittneset, northwest Edgeøya (approx. 78.07865915163048, 20.81773609326912), well-known locale among both tourist guides and researchers as the site of Pomor marine mammal hunting/processing activities, and is situated approximately four kilometres south of Kap Lee. (More detailed information on the archaeology and history of the site is provided in Section 6.)

In addition to Dolerittneset, I will aim to visit (though not disturb) as many analogous archaeological sites during the expedition. Additional sites of interest on/around Edgeøya include
  • Habenichtbukta, southwest Edgeøya (approx. 77.54124847506502, 20.848810605880548): Part of a nature reserve, this is a restricted archaeological site, comprised of Pomor whaling stations;
  • Kraussbukta, southwest Edgeøya (approx. 77.52049262945116, 20.894129206613506): Also part of a nature reserve, walrus crania can be found on the surface; nature reserve; and
  • Small, neighbouring islands Zieglerøya (approx. 77.41386034326707, 22.4297105378133), Delitschøya (approx. 77.38748376330535, 22.52097051730112) and Spekkholmen (approx. 77.37898276111423, 22.51224200915931): All part of a nature reserve, access to these archaeological whaling-station sites is restricted. Frigga Kruse has documented walrus remains on Spekkholmen.

The general aim of this project is to shed more light on 18th-century Russian Pomor walrus hunting and processing (butchery) activities in Svalbard; the specific aim is to acquire detailed data on the remains of hunted animals (likely to be mostly marine mammals) present on the surface. This information will not only contribute to our knowledge of Pomor hunting strategies and technology, but will aid in the development of a comprehensive historical/archaeological research framework for Svalbard.

People involved in the project Sean Desjardins, Frigga Kruse.

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