Institute of Archaeology


Sarah Forgesson         

Future of island heritage in the face of climate change: the challenges and opportunities of heritage management in the South Pacific


Email: sarah.forgesson.16@ucl.ac.uk
Section: Heritage Studies



This research arises out of an increasing discourse in heritage management regarding the impact of climate change on heritage sites and an awareness that there is a fundamental lack of integral study being carried out in regions that require it the most, notably the South Pacific. In this region the archaeological record is massively weighted towards the coastline with communities continuing to live immediately on or within these heritage sites and wider cultural landscapes.

There is a moral responsibility not yet realised in heritage management, to pursue a means of ensuring that these island communities' values for their heritage, both manifested in the intangible and tangible, are properly understood, articulated and sustained in the face of potential loss or relocation. This research will therefore seek to rectify this lack of acknowledgement and movement in the heritage discipline by exploring potential strategies for the identification, documentation and sustainable management of South Pacific archaeological sites and landscapes. It will focus on three Pacific island states that represent the main geological formations of island types in the South Pacific region - New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji. This will ensure a more robust representation of the differing island clusters, which in turn will enable a more comprehensive research outcome. 


  • UCL Graduate Research Scholarship
  • UCL Overseas Research Scholarship


    • BA (Hons), Anthropology and Ancient History, University of Auckland, 2013
    • MA, Management of Archaeological Sites, UCL, 2017