KINGSTON, Australia, Nov. 22, -- Australian scientists said Wednesday they have discovered a stone monument and flagpole marking the spot where a woman set foot on Antarctica more than 60 years ago. The Australian Antarctic Division said in a statement explorers found the site where Norwegian Caroline Mikkelson first landed on the polar continent. Mikkelson is believed to be the first woman, at least in modern times, to set foot set foot on the region. The statement said members of an expedition from Australia's Davis Station started a search for the site earlier this year. Davis Station leader Diana Patterson, along with Sam Rando and Martin Davies, discovered the site this week. The site was located on the western side of the largest of the islands in the Trynne group, at the northern end of the Vestfold Hills, some 18 miles (29 km) northeast of Davis Station. The statement said the site and contents of the small monument appear to be undisturbed, and Australian officials are considering how to recognize the site and best protect it and its contents. On Feb. 20, 1935, Capt. Klarius Mikkelsen of the Norwegian tanker Thorshavn set out in a boat accompanied by his wife Caroline and seven crew members to explore a previously uncharted section of the Antarctic coast, historians say. They took provisions for a short stay and materials to build a monument, setting out on foot on a rocky island off what is now known as the Vestfold Hills.
The party hoisted the Norwegian flag and constructed a small monument to mark the spot and named the region Ingrid Christensen Land in honor of the wife of the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen. They also left a box of supplies, the historians said. The statement said that Caroline Mikkelsen, 89, lives in Toensberg, in southeastern Norway, and is said to have clear memories of her Antarctic explorations with her husband.