Archaeology and Global Warming

28 November 2020

At … this story is part of widespread exploration of retreating mountain glaciers around the world. In this instance it is Norway. The  melting glaciers, or what are patches of ice that once belonged to a glacier, on what was a former route way once thought to have been used in the Viking era, across the mountains to what is now Sweden. The melting ice patch has revealed artifacts left behind by travellers and hunters. For example, back in 2006 a shoe was found near the melting ice patch that has been carbon dated to around 3300 years ago. In other words, it was left behind during the warm Minoan Warm Period which coincided with the LB era in the eastern Mediterranean. The ice patch itself, or the glacier from which it originated, has been dated back to 5600BC, possibly by a different dating methodology. Once the date was confirmed archaeologists became more interested in the site as they have plenty of Viking era sites currently being investigated. They are run of the mill if you like – but sites in the second millennium BC are sparse on the ground. The discoveries have been written up in the journal Holocene – see .. and see also

Some 68 arrows have come to light, dating from the stone age right up to the middle ages. The oldest goes back to 6000 years ago [4000BC] which is somewhat older than Oetzi [3200BC]. The ice patch itself is described as large, the remnant of a glacier. Melting is revealing what lies within the ice as well as what was covered originally by the ice. However, there is a caveat. Many of the arrows were not pristine in condition and instead, display evidence of degradation due to exposure to the elements. The exposure most likely arose, we are told, from former melting episodes around the ice patch. This means current melting of what was once a mountain glacier is nothing new. It has happened before, possibly on multiple occasions.

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