Tag Archives: Likneset

Coffins from Svalbard’s biggest graveyard saved from coastal erosion, offer clues to life in 1600s


The remote and harsh setting often made life very hard indeed, but also meant Mother Nature took great care with the dead after they submitted to the elements.

Until recently.

The well-preserved remains of three men in coffins at Likneset were removed from Svalbard’s largest graveyard earlier this month and are now in cold storage at Svalbard Museum. The graveyard is on a coastal cliffside at Likneset on northwestern Spitsbergen, described as the heartland of whaling in the archipelago during the 17th and 18th centuries, but erosion had put the coffins in immanent danger of being washed into the sea.