May 29, 2022

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Obduksjon av rødvingetrost

Searching for traces of animals and people in forms that are melting in the mountains due to climate change – NRK Trøndelag

You rarely imagine that you have to freeze the freezer.

At the bottom, under both the huge meat and the elk from last year’s hunting, you can quickly find objects of archaeological value nearby.

There is nothing against what is now visible in the Norwegian mountains.

When glaciers and fountains melt, things of real significance in archaeological and natural history emerge.

But researchers are concerned.

Always on the Fountain: Findings of trumpets and dollars show that reindeer have used the fountain year-round.

Photo: Espen Fenstad

Finds exciting trails in the mountains

While the ice in the glaciers is replaced, moving and crushing whatever it may contain, the formations in the rock are stable. Fonner is ice that lies in layers, the oldest at the bottom and the youngest at the top.

In these nature-specific freezers, new discoveries emerge every year.

We find things we didn’t expect.

That’s what Birgit Schaar says. She is an associate professor in the Department of Archeology and Cultural History at NTNU.

Birgit Scar

Learning about the past: Birgit Skar says the findings tell us a lot about how mountains were used in earlier times.

Photo: Åge Hojem, NTNU Science Museum

Arrowheads, clothing, horses, horse equipment, shoes, birds, reindeer, and so much more have melted puddles. Things that tell something about life, hunting and transportation through the mountain passes in Norway.

The mountains are filled with traces of thousands of years of human and environmental history.

– We did not know that the high mountains were used to this extent. We find indications of how hunting affected the population, and how the mountains were navigated.

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Bronze Age Arrows: A well-preserved Bronze Age arrow, with shell tips, from Løpesfonna in Oppdal

Photo: Åge Hojem, NTNU Science Museum

Equally beautiful after 4000 years

One of the discoveries that melted from Langfon in Guttenheim is red thrush with mummified wings. A discovery that piques the interest of Jørgen Rosvold, Assistant Head of Research at NINA.

It is one of the most amazing discoveries. The red-winged thrush seemed to have died a few days ago, but it was more than 4,000 years old.

red wing castles

Red Wing Trust: The youngest in the family of castles in Norway. He probably returned too early from the southern latitudes.

Photo: Jürgen Roosefold

The results are important. They show how ice was and still is the habitat of many species. When the ice is about to disappear, Roosefold explains, it will affect the species in a way we might not have thought before.

We have only examined a few of the discoveries, but in all that we have studied, we have made biological conclusions. When it comes out of the ice, it quickly rots. This means that a lot will disappear.

The dream of the Norwegian Otzi

In 1991, the remains of Ötzi, a man of 5,000 years, were found in the ice of the Tyrolean Alps.

In Norway, archaeologists have unearthed 3,000-year-old leather shoes. Birgit Skar hopes a Norwegian “Otzi” will appear, even if the chance is slim.

3000 years of leather shoes

Leather shoes: what happened to the owner? Is he or she also located somewhere in Langfon in Gutenheim?

Pictured: Lars Holger-Bell

When someone in the Bronze Age lost a shoe in the mountains, perhaps there was a crisis. Perhaps the owner was surprised by the storm.

For Jurgen Roosefold, that would be a dream.

– We cannot ignore that we can find an old woman in the ice. It will provide enormous research potential and a lot of information about the past.

finds in Breheimen

Viking Gloves: Woven gloves from the Viking age.

Photo: Johann Wildhagen Balocavel

He must prevent knowledge from melting away

Layer upon layer of millennia-old ice is not only frozen to everything from human activity to plant and animal life, but it’s also an archive of 7,500 years of climatic evolution.

However, few investigations have been made north of Trondheim, although the potential for discoveries is also great there.

Now we must take action to secure the knowledge that lies in the boxes. Nowhere else in Norway offers thousands of years of continuous history, says Birgit Skår.

In order to create future scenarios, we must understand the past interaction between animals and humans in the mountains. It is not easy to reverse the dissolution. Therefore, we should try to secure what’s in the ice by combining satellite monitoring with people on the ground when we receive documentation of thaw.

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