Cultural heritage management


Protection of cultural heritage in Svalbard is laid out in the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act. The overarching principle is that Svalbard’s cultural monuments shall be protected and looked after as a part of Svalbard’s cultural heritage and identity, and as a part of a comprehensive policy towards environmental management.

In Svalbard, all cultural monuments from before 1946 are automatically protected. In addition, all traces of human graves, including crosses and other grave markers, as well as bones and bone fragments found on or below the surface of the ground are automatically protected regardless of their age. The same applies to skeletal remains at slaughter sites for walruses and whales and in connection with self-shooting traps for polar bears.

Automatically protected cultural monuments have a 100-metre protection zone in all directions from the visible or known outer edge. The protection zone has the same protection conditions as the cultural monument itself.