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南极发现人类遗骨有可能改变未来命运

The bones that could shape Antarctica’s fate
南极发现人类遗骨有可能改变未来命运

In 1985, a unique skull was discovered lying on Yamana Beach at Cape Shirreff in Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands. It belonged to an indigenous woman from southern Chile in her early 20s, thought to have died between 1819 and 1825. It was the oldest known human remains ever found in Antarctica.

1985年,在南极洲南设得兰群岛(South Shetland Islands)希里夫角(Cape Shirreff)的雅玛那海滩(Yamana Beach)上发现了一具独特的颅骨。这具颅骨是一个智利南部二十岁出头的原住民女性的遗骸,死亡时间被认定在1819年到1825年之间。这是迄今为止在南极洲发现的最古老的人类遗骸。

The location of the discovered skull was unexpected. It was found at a beach camp made by sealers in the early 19th Century near remnants of her femur bone, yet female sealers were unheard of at the time. There are no surviving documents explaining how or why a young woman came to be in Antarctica during this era. Now, at nearly 200 years old, the skull is thought to align with the beginning of the first known landings on Antarctica.

颅骨发现的位置是出乎意料的,是在19世纪初的海豹捕猎者所建造的沙滩营附近发现。然而女性海豹捕猎者在那个时代是闻所未闻的。也没有任何已知文献说明在那个年代,一个年轻的女性如何或为什么要来到南极洲。现在,这具已经将近200岁的颅骨被认为与人类第一次登陆南极洲的时间是吻合的。

The Yamana Beach skull was a significant find – and not just for archaeological reasons. In 30 years’ time, bones such as these may come into play in territorial claims for this pristine wilderness. Nations are quietly – and sometimes not so quietly – preparing to stake their rights as the owners of swathes of the nearly uninhabitable land.

雅玛那海滩颅骨是一个重要发现——这不仅是考古学上的原因。30年来,像这样的骨头总是被当做对这块原始荒野提出领土要求的凭据。不同国家悄悄地,有时是明目张胆的,准备着对这一大片几乎无法居住的土地宣誓所有权。

"Lots of people just don't understand that there's a darker side to Antarctica," says Klaus Dodds, professor of geopolitics at Royal Holloway University of London. "What we're seeing is great power politics play out in a space that a lot of people think of as just frozen wastes."

伦敦皇家霍洛威学院(Royal Holloway University of London)地缘政治学教授多兹(Klaus Dodds)表示:“很多人都不明白南极洲有更黑暗的一面。我们所看到的是在这片被大多数人视为冰冻废墟的土地上,强权政治在互相较量。”

The Antarctic Treaty System was first signed in 1959 but, in 1998 a protocol on environmental protection was added. It states that Antarctica is to be a "natural reserve, devoted to peace and science," and prohibits all activities relating to Antarctic mineral resources, except as is necessary for scientific research. But this is not set in stone forever.

南极条约体系(Antarctic Treaty System)最早是1959年签订的,但在1998年又加入了一项关于环境保护的协议。条约申明,南极洲是一个为和平与科学服务的自然保护区,除非必要的科学研究,禁止开展任何涉及南极洲矿产资源的活动。但是这并不是一项永久协议。

In 2048 – 50 years after the protocol was created – this part of the treaty could come under review. That is the date when the prohibition on mining and resource extraction could – and it's a big could – be altered or done away with.

2048年——在这项协议达成50年后,条约中的这部分内容可能会被重新审核。禁止采矿和资源开发的条款可能,甚至很有可能会被修改或者废除。

"The reason 2048 looms large is because if certain countries feel that the prohibition on mineral exploitation is no longer to be respected, people worry that the whole thing could unravel," says Dodds. "Environmental protection is one of the key headlines of the treaty."

多兹表示:“之所以2048年令人担忧,是因为如果一些国家感到不用再理会禁止矿产开发的条款时,人们担心整件条约都会崩溃, 而环境保护是南极条约最关键的条文之一。”

Seven nations laid overlapping claims on Antarctic land when the treaty was adopted: Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the UK. The treaty held all these claims in place and prohibited any new ones from being established. The treaty also puts any expansions to territorial claims to Antarctica on hold – officially.

该条约通过时,阿根廷、澳大利亚、智利、法国、新西兰、挪威和英国七个国家都对南极大陆提出了重叠的主权主张。条约冻结了所有的主权要求,并禁止提出任何新的主权主张。该条约还正式的搁置了任何对南极提出领土扩张的要求。

"The claimant states, in a sense, keep their claims in a box, if you like, with a lid on it. But that box will never be thrown away," says Jill Barrett, an international law consultant and visiting reader in international law at Queen Mary University of London.

伦敦玛丽王后大学(Queen Mary University of London)的国际法顾问兼访问读者巴雷特(Jill Barrett)说:“在某种意义上,这些有领土要求的国家把他们的要求放在了一个盒子里,如果你喜欢,还可以加个盖子在上面。但是这个盒子永远都在那里。”

在南极洲争夺地盘的不仅只有企鹅

Many nations, however, are engaging in 'doublethink' about this part of the agreement, says Dodds. "The big players, usually China and Russia, are thinking about this particular episode around 2048 and planning ahead."

然而,很多国家对协议的这部分内容采取的是“双重思想”,多兹说:“最大的玩家,通常是中国和俄国,也在考虑2048年条约重新审核这件事,并且会提前打主意。”

As a result, many countries are sending feelers out to Antarctica in a number of ways, such as financing scientific research, historical investigation, and building research bases far and wide around the continent. "It's a very clear message to the wider world: we're in the whole space," says Dodds.

所以,很多国家用各种形式向南极洲派出探测人员。例如资助科学研究,历史调查,在南极大陆的广大陆地建立起研究基地。多兹说:“这等于是对全世界传递了一个明确的信息,整个南极空间我们也有份。”

Archaeology is one of the most important activities, says Michael Pearson, an Antarctic heritage consultant and former deputy executive director of the Australian Heritage Commission. "It establishes an interest, if not a stake, in future discussions about territorial claims or commercial exploitation."

南极文化遗产顾问兼前澳大利亚文化遗产委员会(Australian Heritage Commission)副总监皮尔逊(Michael Pearson)说,考古是南极大陆上最重要的一项活动。“在未来关于领土主张或者商业开发的讨论中,即便不是一份子,由于考古也确立了自己的利益所在。”

While archaeological finds like the discovery of the Yamana Beach skull carry no legal weight – the woman was more likely to have been a sealer than an official – they might just challenge the known timeline of the continent’s history. If Chile can demonstrate that it had people living in Antarctica earlier than other nations staking land claims, then they have a stronger hand in negotiations.

虽然像雅玛那海滩颅骨这样的考古发现没有任何法律效力,这名女性更有可能是一位海豹捕猎者而不是一名智利官员,所以这可能只是挑战了南极大陆已知的历史时间表。如果智利能够证明其人口居住在南极的时间早于其他声称有南极洲主权的国家,那么他们才能在谈判中处于强势。

Archaeological discoveries can also boost political support for a case back home. "When remains or objects are found in the ice, I could see straight away it would inflate territorial nationalism," says Dodds. "Archaeology has always been really important for national politics."

多兹说,考古发现还可以加强国内的政治支持。“如果在冰上发现了遗骸或遗物,我敢保证一定会煽动起扩张领土的民族主义。考古在国际政治中一直是非常重要的。”

Other events, such as historic shipwrecks, could play a similar role as the Yamana skull. In 1819, the Spanish frigate San Telmo was wrecked in the Drake Passage, which separates the tip of Chile from the Antarctic Peninsula. Archaeologists have searched the Antarctic islands for signs of whether any crew made it alive to the shore.

其他事件,如历史沉船,也和雅玛那颅骨一样扮演同样的角色。1819年,一艘西班牙巡航舰圣特尔莫号(San Telmo)在分隔智利尖端和南极半岛的德雷克海峡(Drake Passage)遇难。考古学家一直在南极群岛上搜寻是否有任何船员活着上岸的痕迹。

"Shipwreck remains were found there washed up on the South Shetlands," says Pearson. "Quite possibly some of the crew survived on the floating wreckage." If there were survivors, they would have beaten the British to be the first in Antarctica.

皮尔逊说:“沉船的残骸被发现冲上了南设得兰群岛,很有可能一些船员在漂浮的残骸上活了下来。”如果有任何幸存者,他们将会击败英国人,成为最早登上南极大陆的人。

The upside of all this attention is that a single nation’s investment in archaeology can reveal artefacts and remains that can enlighten the whole world – discoveries that might never otherwise have been found. "The underlying nationalistic ambitions of countries, be they overtly expressed or covert motivations, can be beneficial," says Pearson. "They provide funding and logistical support to carry out archaeological research, which is otherwise very hard to get."

所有这些关注也为南极带来好处,因为一个国家对考古的投资,可以发现能启迪全世界的文物和遗迹,否则这些历史遗迹永远不可能被发现。皮尔逊说:“各国潜在的国族主义野心,无论是公开的还是隐蔽的动机,也可以是有益的。如果不是各国提供资金和后勤支援进行考古研究,这些东西是难以被发现的。”

For the Chilean woman whose skull was found on Yamana Beach, the most likely conclusion is that she was caught up somehow in a sealing mission to Antarctica. She may have drowned or died of exposure on the shore. But her bones remain among the most significant archaeological discoveries ever made in Antarctica. And they are now part of a much bigger picture of soft power and national pride, in the context of the political long-game of laying claim to the frozen continent.

而这位在雅玛那海滩被发现遗骸的智利女性,最有可能的结论是,她是在一次捕猎任务中被俘而到达南极洲。她可能是溺死或者冻死在南极海滩上。但是她的骨头仍是南极洲有史以来最重要的考古发现之一。在长期以来对冰冻大陆宣誓主权的政治背景下,它成了软实力和民族骄傲这个更大图画中的一部分。
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