A horse skull, presumably from the Viking Age, found at the Lendbreen glacier in Oppland county. (Photo: Oppland County Authority)
Archaeologists who want to learn more about our ancestors, and at the same time are concerned about global warming, must have very mixed feelings: The increasing number of objects found at melting Norwegian glaciers is a treasure trove of new knowledge.
The number of objects is so big that the growing archeological field in the autumn of 2014 got its own magazine; Journal of Glacial Archaeology. A large part of the content will be descriptions of items found at Norwegian glaciers, according to the research portal forskning.no
There are about 2500 glaciers in Norway, equally divided between Southern and Northern Norway, which covers approximately 0.7% of the total land area.
Only in Oppland county, about 2,000 objects have melted out of the ice. There are also made many findings in the counties of Rogaland, Møre og Romsdal and Hordaland, as well as some in Northern Norway.
A small knife with wooden handle, probably dating back to the Iron Age, found at the Lendbreen glacier in Oppland the summer of 2014. (Photo: Oppland County Authority)
The oldest ice in the mountains of Southern Norway is about 6600-6700 years old, and in many places the glaciers now are melting down to the oldest layers. Also in the Rocky Mountains, the Andes and the Alps, objects from ancient mountain people are uncovered.
At the Lendbreen glacier in Oppland, archaeologists have found a number of items. On an old road used to cross the mountains, both objects related to hunting, but also more mundane items like gloves and shoes, are found.
All the horse bones tell that the route was hazardous for both people and animals.
The objects can provide new knowledge about the people who have lived in Norway back to the Stone Age. Meanwhile, the melting process is so quick that archaeologists must work fast to rescue and preserve them for posterity.
Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews