Researchers discover 6000-year-old artifacts from melting glaciers in Norway


In a new find, researchers have traced around 2000 ancient artifacts near the Norway glaciers. A group of archaeologists, while exploring Norway’s glaciers got hold of theses artefacts that can reveal many information about ancient Norway and the history of mountain populations.

The archaeologists are from Norway and the United Kingdom, and they have been surveying the edge so of glaciers in Norway’s highest mountains in Oppland since the year 2011 as part of the Glacier Archaeology Program and its Secrets of the ice projects. During their explorations, the archaeologists have discovered thousands of ancient artifacts like wooden skis, near complete bronze-age arrows, wooden shafts, Viking swords, clothing as well as the skulls of pack horses.

After analyzing those artefacts, the researchers found out that they date as far back as 4000 B.C. that means the artefacts are almost 6000 years old. Lars Pilø, co-director of the Glacier Archaeology Program said that in the glaciated mountain passes one can find basically anything. “Obviously because of the fantastic artefacts, there’s a lot of focus on the individual finds. But I think what is more important, perhaps, is the bigger picture,” he said.

The researchers were successful in getting ages of 153 artifacts out of those thousands of object. They found out that the unearthed artefacts were not spread out evenly over time. The archaeologists got surprised when they found out that the activities got intensified during the Late Antique Little Ice Age (c. 536 – 660 AD). At that time the earth was gradually cooling thus resulting in failure of harvest and falling of populations. The study indicated that during the Late Antique Little Ice Age the hunters and foragers dominated the mountain ranges and mountain hunting was a top priory work so as to supplement failing agricultural harvests in times of low temperatures.

The weapons and artefacts used by those hunters and foragers became frozen in glaciers over the years. But now, due to climate change, the glaciers are melting, and that has resulted in exposure of these 6000 years old artifacts. Although researchers are excited to study those artifacts, at the same time they are concerned that that exposure of these fragile artefacts to the elements might lead to their degradation. The ice of Norway’s mountains had perfectly preserved those artifacts. The latest study was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.


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