Hanson's grave


Hanson's Grave - the loneliest grave on earth

The grave of Nicolai Hanson is situated high on the Cape above the beach.  Hanson, a Norwegian, was the biologist on the expedition who had been unwell since he contracted a serious illness during the voyage from England. 

 By the time he arrived at Cape Adare he had largely recovered and began to participate actively in the expedition. His work involved making valuable observations and collecting many biological specimens.

Nicolai Hanson, member of Borchgrevink's Expedition

His condition deteriorated during the winter but he survived until spring and was able to witness the return of the first penguins to begin the new breeding season and on the 14th of October 1899 he had the doubtful honour of being first die on the continent.

The official cause for his death was given as “occlusion of the intestines” but this was never confirmed.  Other sources say it may have been scurvy or beriberi.

Because it had been Hanson's wish to be buried on the top of the Cape, his comrades climbed up and used dynamite to excavate a grave.  A short funeral service was held at the hut and then his coffin was dragged up the steep slope with great difficulty.  His grave was marked with a simple iron cross and an inscribed brass plaque that were secured to a large rock.

Later, during Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated “Terra Nova expedition” the grave area served as a lookout point. During this time the grave was levelled using slabs of rock - white stones were used to form Hanson’s name and a large cross.

Hansons Grave, Cape Adare, Antarctica (credit AHT Collection) 

 

 

 

 

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Cape Adare
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This website was produced with the support of the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Riksantikvaren.