Expedition News

September 2001 - Volume Eight, Number Nine

EXPEDITION NEWS is a monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online and by mail to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.

The following are highlights from our September issue. To receive a free sample issue of our complete version by e-mail, send us an e-mail. To receive a free printed copy, send a self-addressed stamped envelope (34 cents postage in a long No. 10 envelope) to the below address.


A collection of dusty 100-year-old Philippine instruments in the Anthropology Department of the Field Museum in Chicago may yet play again if a museum volunteer has anything to say about it. The project gives new meaning to the term “unplugged.”

Cheryl Istvan, chairman of the Chicago Chapter of the Explorers Club, has had a lifelong interest in music starting with a degree in Music at Wellesley College, where she specialized in Early Music. Her focus eventually turned to Ethnomusicology, the study of nonwestern music in its cultural environment. For the past year she has been working as a volunteer in the Anthropology Department of the Field Museum in Chicago to help document a group of musical instruments from the Philippines, collected by anthropologists in the early part of the twentieth century. It’s the largest such collection in the world, surpassing those even in the Philippines.

The museum project entails creating a database and photo archive of the instruments, including both musicological and ethnological information about each item, which could be duplicated in a CD-ROM format. Upon completion, the database will make these instruments accessible for research purposes to ethnomusicologists from around the world who are interested in studying ethnic Philippine music.


Celebrating the centennial anniversary of the beginning of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration (1902-1914), the Ice Country Antarctic Expedition will be a modern day voyage of discovery under sail.

The eight-person team’s goal is a environmentally-motivated, self-reliant, marine and mountain circumpolar exploration of the Southern Ocean, the sub-polar islands, and the West Antarctic Peninsula during the austral summer of October 2001 - March 2002 aboard the 48-ft. ice-reinforced steel ketch Southern Oddessy.


Kropp Sues to Defend His Name – In 1995-96, Swedish explorer Goran (“Yore-um”) Kropp, astonished the adventure community when he mountain biked with 260 lbs. of supplies from Sweden to Nepal, assisted in rescue efforts on Everest during that fateful season, summited the mountain unaided and without supplemental oxygen, then rode his bike and a train back home.

Kropp’s career hit a rough spot, however, in April, 2000, during a North Pole expedition with Sweden’s Ola Skinnarmo. The two were criticized for fatally shooting an attacking polar bear. “Shooting and probably killing one of the bears was really a shock to them,” expedition spokeswoman Anneli Stromberg said at the time. “But it was either them or the bears and there really was no choice,” she added. In recounting the story, Kropp recently told EN, “He was really hungry. The bear had made up his mind that breakfast was being served.”

Kropp, who later had to abandon the trek because of frostbite (caused by holding a cold gun in his bare hands), was denounced on his return to Sweden by animal rights groups for having shot the bear, a protected species.

Now to protect his name, Kropp, goes to trial this month in a liable suit against Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet. The paper accused him of being part of a criminal syndicate, which Kropp vehemently denies. The negative publicity resulted in death threats. “I felt awful and was humiliated. That’s part of the reason I don’t give interviews in Europe anymore,” he says. Does he have any regrets? “There are 60,000 polar bears in the world. It could happen again and I’d do the same thing to protect myself.”


Earliest Human Ancestors Found - A National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported international team of researchers has announced it has discovered the remains of the earliest known human ancestor, dating to between 5.2 and 5.8 million years ago.

The fossil finds, reported in the July 12 issue of Nature, were made over a four-year period in Ethiopia’s Middle Awash study area, about 140 miles northeast of the capital, Addis Ababa. To the team of scientists, the discovery represents more evidence to confirm Darwin’s conclusion that the earliest humans, or hominids, the primate zoological family that includes all species on the human side of the evolutionary split with chimpanzees, arose in Africa.


Field Report: World’s Deepest Shipwreck Found
By David Concannon, Special Correspondent

Eight members of The Explorers Club, all veterans of deep water exploration, including expeditions to the Titanic, Bismarck, the Japanese WWII submarine I-52, and the Mariana Trench, have discovered the world’s deepest wooden shipwreck, a merchant ship almost two hundred years old resting 4,818 meters, almost 16,000 feet, deep in the Blake Basin of the Atlantic Ocean, in the heart of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Curt Newport, widely known for locating and recovering Liberty Bell 7, the Gus Grissom Mercury spacecraft, announced this new find in Bermuda in July. Mike McDowell and Guy Zajonc, of Deep Ocean Expeditions, Ltd., organized the Atlantic Sands 2001 expedition. The target was originally revealed by side-scan sonar in 1999.

Read the full report in this month’s EN.


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is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. 203-855-9400, fax 203-855-9433, blumassoc@aol.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. ©2001 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Highlights from EXPEDITION NEWS can be found at www.expeditionnews.com.

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