Global Warming “Presents a Fleeting Opportunity for Glacial Archaeologists”

(p. 14) Espen Finstad was trudging through mud in the Jotunheimen mountains of eastern Norway this month when he happened upon a wooden arrow, bound with a pointed tip made of quartzite. Complete with feathers, it was so well-preserved that it looked as if it could have been lost just recently.

. . .

The find, which Mr. Finstad and his colleagues believe belonged to a reindeer hunter in the late Stone Age or early Bronze Age, is among thousands of artifacts and remains that have emerged from melting ice in recent years, as climate change thaws permafrost and glaciers around the world.

. . .

The thaw presents a fleeting opportunity for glacial archaeologists: They must find the historical treasures just as they emerge from the ice and before they are destroyed by the elements.

“We’re sort of in a race against time,” said Lars Holger Pilo, a glacial archaeologist and a colleague of Mr. Finstad’s.  . . .

For more than a decade, their team, which runs the Secrets of the Ice project, has scoured mountain passes across the country.  . . .

Since then, the team has discovered around 4,000 artifacts and remains, including a 1,000-year-old wooden whisk and Viking mitten, medieval horseshoes, Bronze Age skis and more than 150 arrows.

Similar work is taking place near Anchorage, Alaska, as well as in northeastern Siberia and Mongolia.

Among the most exciting finds have been Yuka, a 39,000-year-old baby Mammoth found in Siberia in 2010, and a 280-million-year-old tree fossil found in Antarctica in 2016. But the most famous of all is Ötzi — a 5,300-year-old iceman found in 1991 by hikers on the northern Italian border with Austria.

For the full story, see:

Livia Albeck-Ripka. “Melting Ice in Norway Reveals Ancient Arrow.” The New York Times, First Section (Sunday, September 24, 2023): 14.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 23, 2023, and has the title “Ancient Arrow Is Among Artifacts to Emerge From Norway’s Melting Ice.”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *