Melting Glaciers In Norway Have Revealed A Lost Viking Route And Several Artefacts

by Gizel Menezes
Melting Glaciers In Norway Have Revealed A Lost Viking Route And Several Artefacts

While melting glaciers are a huge sign of worry for environmentalists, they are a dream discovery for glacial archaeologists. According to a new study, melting glaciers in Norway have revealed a lost mountain pass in Norway, replete with hundreds of Viking artefacts. Frozen for all this time, the artefacts seem to appear almost as new.

Image Courtesy: Forbes

In Lendbreen, Norway, climate change has caused mountain glaciers to melt, revealing artefacts from different periods in history beneath. A haul of more than 100 artefacts has been recovered at the site, including clothes, tools, equipment, and animal bone.

The new study, published in the journal Antiquity, reveals that the pass was used from the Roman Iron Age in 300 AD to the Viking Age in 1000 AD. While researchers first discovered the pass in 2011, the melting ice has been revealing more artefacts ever since.

Some of the objects recovered reveal the means of transportation used through the mountain, such as horseshoes, bones from packhorses, remains of sleds and a walking stick with a runic inscription. The most remarkable items include blue textile rags, a Viking mitten, shoes and a complete Roman Iron Age tunic.
Image Courtesy: Interesting Engineering
Dating the objects helped the researchers reconstruct the timeline of the pass and its purpose. About 60 of the items dated so far reveal how farming migrated from the bottom of the valley to higher elevations in summer to take advantage of long daylight hours.
The mountain pass also acted as a travel and trade route, transporting goods like antlers and pelts outside of Norway. This way it acted as a bridge between larger trading networks and connected remote regions.
According to James H. Barrett, study co-author and program partner, “The start around AD 300 was a time when local settlement activity was picking up. When the use of the pass intensified around AD 1000, during the Viking Age, it was a time of increased mobility, political centralization and growing trade and urbanization in Northern Europe.”
However, the decline of the Lendbreen pass is attributed to a combination of factors. These include economic changes, climate change and late medieval pandemics, such as the Black Death.
While fieldwork has been conducted at the site since 2011, this study only includes the discoveries made up through 2015. More research about the final remains recovered from Lendbreen will be released in the future.