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Open AccessArticle

Coastal Erosion of Arctic Cultural Heritage in Danger: A Case Study from Svalbard, Norway

1
High North Department, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
2
Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), Torgard, P.O. Box 6315, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
3
Arctic Geology Department, The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), P.O. Box 156, 9171 Longyearbyen, Norway
4
Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), Fram Centre, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
5
Department of Digital Archaeology, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), Storgata 2, 0155 Oslo, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alexander Shiklomanov
Water 2021, 13(6), 784; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060784
Received: 23 February 2021 / Revised: 8 March 2021 / Accepted: 11 March 2021 / Published: 13 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrology of the Arctic Region)
Strong cultural heritage management relies on a thorough evaluation of the threats faced by heritage sites, both in the present and in the future. In this study, we analysed the changes in the position of Hiorthhamn shoreline (Svalbard), which is affecting coastal cultural heritage sites, for a period of 93 years (1927–2020). Shoreline changes were mapped by using maps, ortophotos, drone images, terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), and topographic surveys. Also, TLS was used to 3D document the endangered coastal cultural heritage sites. Detailed sedimentological and morphological mapping was made in the field and from the newly acquired drone images in order to understand shoreline-landscape interaction and to depict changes occurring from 2019 to 2020. Short-term (2019–2020) and long-term (1927–2020) shoreline erosion/accretion was made with the help of the Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) and prompted a subdivision of three sectors, based on change pattern. Compared to a previous long-term analysis (1927–2019), this year’s average erosion rate analysis (expressed by the EPR parameter) for the 93-year period is −0.14 m/yr. This shift in mean development is due to a newly formed spit-bar in Sector 2. Referring strictly to Sector 1, where the protected cultural heritage objects are located, the erosion rate increased from the previous analysis of –0.76 m/yr to −0.77 m/yr. The shoreline forecast analysis highlights that half of the protected cultural heritage objects will likely disappear over the next decade and almost all the cultural heritage objects analysed in this study will disappear in roughly two decades. This shows the great danger the Arctic’s cultural heritage sites is in if no mitigation measures are undertaken by the local authorities. View Full-Text
Keywords: coastal erosion; cultural heritage; high arctic; monitoring; Svalbard; DSAS coastal erosion; cultural heritage; high arctic; monitoring; Svalbard; DSAS
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nicu, I.C.; Rubensdotter, L.; Stalsberg, K.; Nau, E. Coastal Erosion of Arctic Cultural Heritage in Danger: A Case Study from Svalbard, Norway. Water 2021, 13, 784. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060784

AMA Style

Nicu IC, Rubensdotter L, Stalsberg K, Nau E. Coastal Erosion of Arctic Cultural Heritage in Danger: A Case Study from Svalbard, Norway. Water. 2021; 13(6):784. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060784

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nicu, Ionut C.; Rubensdotter, Lena; Stalsberg, Knut; Nau, Erich. 2021. "Coastal Erosion of Arctic Cultural Heritage in Danger: A Case Study from Svalbard, Norway" Water 13, no. 6: 784. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060784

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