The project was developed by the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) as part of their programme of conserving the island’s heritage. A group combining the SGHT and the archaeologists from the University of Cambridge made a 30-day expedition to study the heritage of the 18th and 19th century American and British sealers who worked and lived on South Georgia.
Detailed archaeological survey of the beaches where the sealers worked revealed information that adds to the sparse historical records and gives a better picture of the sealers’ inhabitation of South Georgia and their early impact upon the island’s ecology.
Following his visit to South Georgia in 1775, Captain James Cook reported the abundance of seals breeding on the island’s beaches. This attracted the attention of predominantly American and British sealers who descended on the island to harvest fur seals and elephant seals for their valuable pelts and blubber respectively.
The sealers were the 19th century equivalent of the better-known 20th century whalers in destroying populations of marine mammals and significantly altering the island’s ecosystem.
South Georgia Surveys, Robert Burton, Jill Fruin (MV Hans Hansson photos),
SGHT (museum photo)
Amy Guest, SAERI (drone photo)
The archaeological team from the University of Cambridge, England, was co-led by Christopher Evans, Executive Director, and senior archaeologist Dr. Marcus Brittain of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU), accompanied by Andrew Chaplin and PhD student Ian Ostericher.
Links to Websites
Thanks to Our Supporters
- The Shackleton Company who supplied expedition jackets for the project
- The South Georgia Association