Archaeologists discovered thousands of artifacts in the Norwegian glaciers in Oppland County, which are now melting because of climate change. The melting glaciers reveal well-preserved ancient artifacts dated about 6,000 years ago.
The findings of the discovery were published in the Royal Society Open Science on January 24. The research was led by an international research team from Oppland County Council together with the researchers from the universities of Oslo, Oxford, Bergen, Cambridge, and Trondheim.
The glaciers become just like as a massive freezer and preserve the artifacts, in which they look like they have been found a few hours ago. James H. Barrett, an environmental archaeologist from the University of Cambridge, said that the moment these artifacts melt out of the ice, they are immediately vulnerable to the elements.
Among the 2,000 artifacts found by the archaeologists include Iron Age and Bronze clothing, arrows and remains of 8th-century skis and packhorses. They also found sleds, ancient horse skulls and an 11th-century walking stick with a runic inscription, which is an engraving of runic alphabets, according to IFL Science.
The archaeologists discovered that some periods were bountiful in artifacts than the other periods. This indicated how the changing climate, as well as social and economic factors, influenced the society over a period of time.
The team used radiocarbon dating and enabled to track patterns of human activity and climate change. They discovered that the patterns of artifacts in the ice could be identified through four things. These involve the size of the reindeer population, the level of altitude human activity, climate history and the preservation issues.
Most of the discovered artifacts were from the Late Antique Early Ice Age of the sixth and seventh centuries AD. Meanwhile, the archaeologists discovered how hunting styles were altered through the artifacts from the eighth to the 10th centuries AD. The ancient hunters had begun utilizing more advanced trapping systems besides the traditional bow and arrow techniques. The team also found that the increase in artifacts during that period means there was an increase in population, mobility, and trade, according to National Geographic.
Meanwhile, the researchers think that the glacier archaeologists are “unlikely beneficiaries of global warming.” If in case the glacier archaeologists won’t discover the objects underneath the ice, then they would be destroyed by the elements and lost to the world. The team described this work as really rewarding.