We know that climate change is an important issue that is especially affecting our polar regions. Without taking anything away from this threat, the rising temperatures can also lead to exciting discoveries...as long as you can move fast enough to capture the results.
Take the mountains of Norway. For several thousand years, they have been covered with sheets of ice and snow. Now some of these areas are melting and the ground is being exposed to the open air for the first time in centuries. And the artifacts that are being revealed? They are once-in-a-lifetime relics of the Viking Age, Iron Age, and beyond!
Iron Age like it was yesterday
As ancient Nordic people walked these mountains to hunt wild animals such as reindeer, they inevitably lost things. Arrows, knives, tunics (think a pullover shirt), shoes, skis, even swords. The list goes on and on, and now, thanks to the melting ice, these items are springing up everywhere.
All of them are in remarkable condition, too, looking like they were lost only ten years ago, not ten hundred. The key to this excellent preservation is that the artifacts were frozen inside ice, not buried underground. Buried objects tend to get somewhat crushed by the pressures of soil and earth moving around them. Ice, however, freezes an object in place. This also keeps it away from air and tiny animals that would degrade it.
Aside from rust on the blades and some warping of the wood, these relics look amazing!
The race is on
That said, now that the melt is on, the stopwatch has started ticking. Artifacts can break down very fast once exposed to the air. That's why organizations like Oppland County Council and Secrets Of The Ice from Lillehammer, Norway are working double time in the field. They recruit volunteers and spread the message that they need help to recover and preserve as much as possible.
In reality, the huge amount of areas that are melting, along with the unpredictable weather in the Norwegian mountains, mean that some artifacts will never be found. But the thrill of finding a beautiful relic is well worth the effort. Watch for yourself as a group of researchers discover a knife in the video below. So exciting!