The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is home to many of the historic sites and artefacts of Antarctic exploration. Due to the low temperatures, many of the sites and relics have been remarkably well preserved.
A number of measures are in place to ensure their continued protection and, where appropriate, restoration.
Over 90 sites are designated as Historic Sites and Monuments (HSMs) and are protected under the Antarctic Treaty System. Many of these fall within the BAT. A full list can be viewed on the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat’s website.
We work closely with the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT), a charitable organisation set up in 1993 to conserve evidence of Britain’s long and distinguished history of exploration and scientific research in Antarctica.
In 2009, we worked in partnership with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the UKAHT, the British Antarctic Survey, and other stakeholders to develop a BAT Heritage Strategy. This Strategy was updated and expanded in 2016.
The key aims are to:
- Identify and help protect British sites of heritage value across the British Antarctic Territory;
- Ensure that appropriate management plans are developed for each of the historic site and their integral artefacts and structures;
- Communicate the significance of the heritage sites, and the context of the history of the British Antarctic Territory; and maintain a record on the status and condition of all sites of British heritage value in the British Antarctic Territory.
The most recent edition was published in November 2016.
Underwater Cultural Heritage
In November 2018 we published our first strategy on conserving and protecting our Underwater Cultural Heritage. This supplements the existing Heritage Strategy. It sets out:
- the Territory’s policy on protecting the UK’s Antarctic underwater heritage;
- the methods for doing this; and
- clear future actions for the government and its stakeholders.
We are grateful for the organisations that drafted this strategy on our behalf:
- Marine Archaeological Sea Trust
- Plymouth University Law School
- Bournemouth University