Melting ice reveals lost viking artefacts on mountain pass

Related Articles

Related Articles

Climate change is leading to the retreat of mountain glaciers.

In Norway, hundreds of rare archaeological finds have been revealed by melting ice in a lost mountain pass at Lendbreen in Innlandet County.

The finds tell a remarkable story of high-altitude travel in the Roman Iron Age and the Viking Age.

“A lost mountain pass melting out of the ice is a dream discovery for us glacial archaeologists,” says Lars Pilo, first author of the study and co-director for the Glacier Archaeology Program.

Image Credit : Antiquity Journal

“In such passes, travellers lost many artefacts that became frozen in time by the ice. These incredibly well-preserved artefacts of organic materials have great historical value.”


Subscribe to more articles like this by following our Google Discovery feed - Click the follow button on your desktop or the star button on mobile. Subscribe

Some of the hundreds of finds from Lendbreen derive from the actual transport through the pass – such as horseshoes, bones from packhorses, remains of sleds and even a walking stick with runic inscriptions.

Image Credit : Antiquity Journal

Other finds are items from daily life discarded by travellers such as a knife with a preserved wooden handle, a wooden distaff (for holding wool during hand-spinning) and a wooden whisk. Remains of clothing was also discovered that included a Roman Iron Age tunic, a Viking Age mitten and shoes. Other objects have no parallels in the archaeological record and their function is yet to be determined.

“The preservation of the objects emerging from the ice is just stunning” says Espen Finstad, co-author and co-director of the Glacier Archaeology program. “It is like they were lost a short time ago, not centuries or millennia ago.”

Image Credit : Antiquity Journal

Sixty finds from Lendbreen have been radiocarbon-dated. They show when the pass was used, when the traffic was at its most intense and when traffic declined. They also revealed that the pass was mainly used in late winter/early summer when the rough terrain was covered by snow.

“Radiocarbon dates on the artefacts show that traffic through the pass started in the Roman Iron Age around AD300, peaking in the Viking Age around AD1000 and declined after this”, says corresponding author and program partner James J. Barret.

Image Credit : Antiquity Journal

ANTIQUITY

Header Image Credit : Antiquity Journal

- Advertisement -

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Pella – Birthplace of Alexander The Great

Pella is an archaeological site and the historical capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedon.

New Argentine fossils uncover history of celebrated conifer group

Newly unearthed, surprisingly well-preserved conifer fossils from Patagonia, Argentina, show that an endangered and celebrated group of tropical West Pacific trees has roots in the ancient supercontinent that once comprised Australia, Antarctica and South America, according to an international team of researchers.

High-tech CT reveals ancient evolutionary adaptation of extinct crocodylomorphs

The tree of life is rich in examples of species that changed from living in water to a land-based existence.

Fish fossils become buried treasure

Rare metals crucial to green industries turn out to have a surprising origin. Ancient global climate change and certain kinds of undersea geology drove fish populations to specific locations.

Archaeologists Discover Viking Toilet in Denmark

Archaeologists excavating a settlement on the Stevns Peninsula in Denmark suggests they have discovered a toilet from the Viking Age.

Innovation by ancient farmers adds to biodiversity of the Amazon, study shows

Innovation by ancient farmers to improve soil fertility continues to have an impact on the biodiversity of the Amazon, a major new study shows.

Lost Shiva Temple Buried in Sand Discovered by Local Villagers

Villagers from the Perumallapadu village in the Pradesh’s Nellore district of India have unearthed the 300-year-old Temple of Nageswara Swamy on the banks of the Penna River.

Ma’rib – Capital of the Kingdom of Saba

Ma'rib is an archaeological site and former capital of the ancient kingdom of Saba in modern-day Ma'rib in Yemen

Giant Egg Discovered in Antarctica Belonged to Marine Reptile

A large fossil discovered in Antarctica by Chilean researchers in 2011 has been found to be a giant, soft-shell egg from 66 million years ago.

Archaeologists Find Evidence of Incest Among Irelands Early Elite at Newgrange Passage Tomb

Archaeologists working with Geneticists from the Trinity College Dublin have determined that a burial in the Newgrange passage tomb shows indications of first-degree incest.

Popular stories