MAST iconMaritime Archaeology Sea Trust

British Antarctic Territory: the maritime history of Antarctica and its islands and potential impact on UCH sites

March 2022

The Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST) was commissioned by the Government of the British Antarctic Territory (BAT) in 2019 to undertake a review of significant underwater cultural heritage (UCH) sites in the British Antarctic Territory and across the Southern Ocean.

This report examines the maritime history of Antarctica and the islands located in the Southern Ocean and its potential impact on underwater cultural heritage, particularly focusing on South Georgia and the BAT.

These territories were among the last on Earth to be visited by humans, being discovered progressively from 1675 until the early years of the 20th century.

The study area includes the following principal areas:

  1. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (British Overseas Territory)
  2. Antarctica, comprising:
    1. South Orkney Islands (British Antarctic Territory)
    2. South Shetland Islands (British Antarctic Territory)
    3. Antarctic Peninsula (Graham Land) (British Antarctic Territory)
    4. Ronne Ice Shelf (Weddell Sea), Coats Land, Queen Elizabeth Land (British Antarctic Territory)
    5. Other Antarctic Territories