The consequences of climate change: melting ice reveals a well-preserved Bronze Age arrow in Norway
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The consequences of climate change: melting ice reveals a well-preserved Bronze Age arrow in Norway

Exploring the Norwegian mountains Jotunheymen in the Innlandet district, archaeologists made an amazing discovery - amazingly well a preserved arrow from an Early Bronze Age shell. This hunting tool, with an arrowhead made from a freshwater pearl mussel, dates back 3,600 years ago and is among eight such shell arrows that have recently emerged from the melting ice of Norway.

September 13, archaeologist Espen Finstad and his team discovered the artifact during routine monitoring work, providing unexpected evidence of the effects of climate change. The glacial archeology team Secrets of Ice has been tirelessly recovering artifacts from the Innlandet glaciers since the first significant thaw in the Jotunheimen mountains in the autumn of 2006, long before their official initiative began in 2011.

Lars Holger Pilo, co-director of the archeology program, described the situation by saying, "Glaciers and ice patches are retreating and releasing artifacts that were frozen in time by the ice." This Scandinavian mountain range, home to the Norse mythological giants known as Jötnar, is usually covered with snow all year round and is one of the highest in Europe.

Pilo emphasized the relevance of their work as artifacts exposed and quickly deteriorating and do not have time to recover. So far, the Secrets of Ice team has mapped 66 ice patches and recovered nearly 4,000 items, ranging from hunting equipment, textiles and vehicles to biological samples such as antlers, bones and dung.

Discussing the recent discovery of a shell-tipped arrow, Pilö noted that such arrows only became known in Europe when they began to melt from the ice of Norway, and this particular find is the best preserved one they have ever encountered .

As global warming changes Norway's mountainous landscape, archaeologists like Finstad and Pilo are on a mission to save these exposed artifacts while watching them age as the ice continues to melt.

Pilo predicted that most of Norway's ice will disappear this century, effectively signaling travel back in time.

Just last week the team discovered another arrow with an intact quartzite tip that is likely between 3,000 and 3,500 years old. They also discovered an iron horse bit with the remains of a leather bridle, a medieval horseshoe, a Viking Age knife and an arrowhead for a crossbow bolt.

Pilo expressed mixed feelings about these remarkable finds, acknowledging their incredible nature, but regretting the sad reasons for their appearance. Melting ice is not only changing Norway's landscape, but also affecting local wildlife, agriculture, tourism and glacier-powered hydroelectric dams.

He concluded: “It will be a completely different world. However, while we are in the field, we try to push this aside and enjoy salvaging as much of the history of this melting world as possible."

Source: timesofindia

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