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The Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) is a National Research Foundation-funded project that forms part of the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP).  ALSA aims to collect and archive electronically photographs and other items of interest relating to the history of South Africa’s involvement “down South” from the heroic age of Antarctic exploration (and before) right up to the present day.  It concentrates on past and present activities at South Africa’s three southern bases on Gough and Marion Islands and at SANAE IV at Vesleskarvet in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, as well as aboard SANAP’s Antarctic research and supply ship, the r.v. S.A. Agulhas II and in the Southern Ocean south of the African Continent.

The ALSA website will regularly publish news articles of interest on South Africa’s Antarctic legacy and will serve as an entry via a data portal to the ALSA archive of over 4000 photographs and documents, including oral interviews and their transcripts.  In the future it is planned to make available edited diaries of team members and popular and scientific literature not currently available online, as well as selected texts translated from other languages – with a start already made with Afrikaans and Norwegian.

For more information, visit the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa website.

From 2013 onwards, workshops were organised jointly with the Social Sciences group. More information on the joint conferences can be found in the Events section of the SCAR website.

8th Meeting of SCAR History Expert Group, Portland (USA), 2012

The History EG organised two sessions at the XXXII SCAR Open Science Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, USA in July 2012 - 'Historical views on Gateways to Antarctica', focusing on the significance of port cities, and 'Voicing Silences in Antarctic History', showcasing the nature of historical scholarship on the Antarctic region.

Participants at the XXXII SCAR Open Science Conference sessions organised by the History EG:

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7th Meeting of SCAR History Expert Group, Stellenbosch (South Africa), 2011

2011 SCAR History Stellenbosh

The History Action Group organised a workshop on 'Antarctic History: probing the unknown' at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Stellenbosch (South Africa) for 26-27 July 2011. The conference was co-sponsored by the Department Science and Technology, Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology and the National Research Foundation of South Africa.

The considerable role South African researchers have played in scientific, biological and meteorological discoveries in the sub-Antarctic Ocean lacks full recognition. But memories that lay scattered in national archives, personal diaries and mementos will now be accessible through a project to identify, digitise and archive this historical heritage online. For more information on the South African Antarctic Legacy Project, please read the article on the University World News website.

For more information on the workshop, please see the Call for Papers, the Workshop Programme and the Workshop Report. See also the press release referring to the launch of the database of South African Antarctic research.


History Workshop: 'Exploring Ice and Snow in the Cold War', Munich (Germany), 2011

2011 SCAR Humanities Icebreaker Munich

A history workshop of the Rachel Carson Center on “Exploring Ice and Snow in the Cold War” took place at the Deutsches Museum in Munich (Germany) from 27-29 January 2011 with a great participation of members of the SCAR History Expert Group.


2010 SCAR HistoryEG business meeting BuenosAires

6th Meeting of SCAR History Action Group, Buenos Aires (Argentina), 2010

The History Action Group organised a session on "History of Antarctica and scientific research" at the XXXI SCAR Open Science Conference, held in Buenos Aires (Argentina) on 5 August 2010.


International Polar Year Science Conference, Oslo (Norway), 2010

During the International Polar Year Science Conference in Oslo (Norway) 10-11 June 2010 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Munich, Germany, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Bremerhaven, Germany), and Michael Bravo (Cambridge, United Kingdom) convened a bipolar session on “History of Polar Exploration, Cooperation, Research and Logistics“.