Artifacts like arrow heads and stone statues are usually kept in museums because they wouldn’t last outside in the sun, rain or wind. Hundreds or even thousands of years would surely decay these ancient objects. This is why archaeologists don’t usually find organic materials like leather shoes buried outside. However, it’s worth noting that there is one case when these types of objects can survive: frozen in ice. Permafrost and glaciers hold many secrets but now, with climate change in full force, they are slowly releasing their treasures. This phenomenon is most common nowadays in Norway, where glaciers have begun melting.
Recently, some glacial archaeologists have managed to recover about 2,000 ancient artifacts from the melting edges of the glaciers. This has been an ongoing effort because teams from Norway and the United Kingdom have been analyzing the glaciers since 2011. Their efforts have been successful as they managed to uncover thousands of objects that are as old as 4,000 B.C. These objects include Viking swords, bronze-age arrows, clothing and even wooden skis and shafts.
The secrets in the ice
According to Lars Pilø, co-director of the Glacier Archaeology Program that has been gathering these teams to find the artifacts, you can find a lot of things in the frozen mountain passes. And while everyone is understandably excited for the interesting individual artifacts, the bigger picture also deserves some attention.
The journal Royal Society Open Science has recently published an article in which researchers are drawing conclusions about their findings. It’s interesting that out of thousands of artifacts, they managed to date 153 of them. The teams discovered that they were not spread out evenly over the ages. While some periods of time saw hundreds of objects, others saw none of very few.
It’s worth noting that this phenomenon does not only happen in Norway. Back in 2015 it was revealed that the bodies of World War I soldiers emerged from the Alps after the ice melt. Also, the glaciers in the Andes have revealed some Incan mummies.
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