Secrets of the Ice

The Archaeology of Glaciers and Ice Patches

Julian is marvelling at the second longest arrow shaft that we have recovered from the ice😮 The shaft measures 1 m in length🙂 A similar arrow shaft found at another site is radiocarbon-dated to be 2600 years old, i.e. from the Late Bronze Age. We have quite a few very long arrow shafts and all the radiocarbon-dated ones are 2000 years old or older.

When we enter the 1st millenium AD our arrow shafts are not longer than 80 cm. Is the shortening of the shafts linked to the introduction of the heavier iron arrowheads, which substituted the light arrowheads of stone, bone and shell used earlier? Maybe the extra length of the earlier arrows was partly because of the need for increased weight and impact energy? What do you think?🤨 #glacialarchaeology

This crossbow bolt is a great example of the preservation power of glacial ice😍 It melted out of a retreating ice patch in the Jotunheimen Mountains.

We have a couple of crossbow bolts from the ice. Crossbows came into use for warfare in Norway from the 12th century onwards. Our bolts from the ice were lost during reindeer hunting and are later - from the 16th and 17th century. Maybe crossbows only came into use late for reindeer hunting. However, with so few finds, we should be careful not to over-interpret the finds🙂 #glacialarchaeology #climatechange #globalwarming

The first known arrows from the ice in Innlandet County, Norway melted out during very warm summers in the 1930s. Here are some examples of early finds: The arrow to the left has a bone point, and we have radiocarbon-dated it to be around 2000 years old. The others have iron arrowheads - the two in the middle are around 1300 years old, while the one on the right is c. 1500 years old. The arrows from the early phase of melting all belong to the Iron Age. Bronze Age and Stone Age artefacts only started melting out from 2006 onwards, when there was a dramatic and sustained retreat of ice. The glaciers are melting back in time - the earliest finds from the ice here in Innlandet are now 6000 years old😮
(Photo: Eirik Irgens Johnsen/Museum of Cultural History) #glacialarchaeology

After a week of fieldwork, we are now done at our new site. We rigged down our basecamp and packed up. Packhorses from Fjellrittet helped us transport the equipment down from the mountain.

Our large-scale fieldwork is over for now. We will continue to check for new sites with a smaller crew - until winter snow arrives. We just received an exciting report about such new site, including a rare find! We will check it out at the end of this week. Stay tuned!🙂 #glacialarchaeology #climatechange

Glacier Archaeologists in the Field

Med brearkeologer ved isen