Norway’s melting glaciers have revealed over 2,000 artifacts that were buried in the ice for thousands of years. And since the items had been buried for millennia, they are astoundingly well-preserved, providing much insight into human history.
Climate change has allowed the ice in high mountains to melt. For over a decade, researchers from Secrets of the Ice project have been gathering the artifacts showing up as a result of the ice melt, Tech Times reports. Because these items have been in ice, the items are well-preserved, with some of them dating back to 4,000 B.C.
Some of the finds include 180 arrows from the Iron Age, clothes from the Bronze Age, skulls of horses, wooden skis, even Viking swords. According to one researcher, there can be anything in the glacial mountain passes.
In addition, they have even found well-preserved artifacts consisting of organic materials like leather or cloth. Had these artifacts been exposed to the sun and rain, they would not have been preserved at all.
Of the 2,000 artifacts, 150 have been dated.
The researchers said that the artifacts reveal the pattern of human activity in the area, and even some information on the climate. For example, the earliest artifacts dated back to 4,000 B.C., and believe that this was a result of glaciation after the warming during the Holocene, where there was not enough ice to preserve any old items.
The distribution of the artifacts is not equal or consistent, either. The most important pattern they noticed is that the items resembled the artifact peak of the Late Antique Little Ice Age about 536 to 660 AD. While this was a cooling period, the increase in artifact finds means that people at that time might have relied largely on hunting for survival due to the poor agricultural conditions.
The study was published in Royal Society Open Science.