23rd May – Sensing value?

Quite a bit of the week’s discussions have been around cultural heritage, how that is defined, protected and managed in Svalbard. Time with my trusty field assistant is running out, so we went on an excursion to go and experience some local cultural heritage…or did we? Gruve (mine) 5 was built from 1957 and extracted coal from 1959 to 1971. All artefacts on Svalbard before 1946 are protected as cultural heritage within the Environmental Protection Act, as well as other newer things that are deemed significant or interesting enough. It seems Gruve 5 is heritage enough not to be pulled down as a blight on the landscape, but it doesn’t come under the governor’s wing for priorty protection either (which after going through a number of official documents and web searches is as close as I can come to being sure of it’s status!). We found it incredibly interesting to imagine how such a structure was built, operated and what working conditions were like there. As well as observing what was taken away for use elsewhere and what was not. Just how valuable is that experience though, and how do you compare that to others elsewhere and by other people…?

A lot longer climb than it looks! Railway up to Gruve 5, Endalen.

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