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Glacial archeology on the roof of Norway – ScienceDaily



Climate change is one of the most important problems facing people today and year after year the melting of glaciers in Scandinavia, the Alps and North America reveals and then destroys the vital archaeological records of the activity last human.

Glacial archaeologists, specialists who rescue now, threatened artifacts and studied the relationship between climate variability and the intensity of human use of alpine landscapes.

Focusing on Jotunheimen and the surrounding mountainous areas of Oppland, which include the highest mountains in Norway (2649m), an international team of researchers has carried out a systematic study on the edges of the contracted ice, recovering wooden artefacts, textiles, leather and other organic materials that are otherwise rarely preserved.

To date, more than 2000 artifacts have been recovered. Some of the finds date back to 4000 BC and include arrows, clothing items from the Iron Age and the Bronze Age and remains of skis and pack horses.

Through the statistical analysis of radiocarbon dates in these incredibly unusual findings, patterns began to emerge that show that they are not distributed evenly over time. Some periods have many findings while others have none.

What could have caused this chronological pattern: human activity and / or past climate change? These questions are the focus of a new study published today in Royal Society Open Science .

Dr. James H. Barrett, environmental archaeologist at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge and lead author of the article commented: "One of those patterns that really surprised us was the possible increase in activity in the period known as the Small Age. of Late Ice (around 536 – 660 AD) This was a cooling time, crops may have However, surprisingly, the ice findings may have continued during this period, which perhaps suggests that the importance of hunting mountain (mainly for reindeer) increased to supplement agricultural crops in poor conditions in times of low temperatures.any decline in high-elevation activity during the late Late Ice Age was so brief that we can not observe it from the available evidence " .

Barrett continues, "Then we see a lot of findings dating from the 8th to 10th centuries AD, probably reflecting an increase in population, mobility (including the use of mountain passes) and trade, Just before and during the Viking era when external expansion was also characteristic of Scandinavia, one of the drivers of this increase may have been the expansion of the ecological frontier of the cities that were emerging in Europe at this time. they needed mountain products like antlers for the manufacture of artifacts and probably also furs, and other drivers were the changing needs and aspirations of the mountain hunters themselves. "

Then, the number of findings dating back to medieval times decreases (from the 11th century onward). Lars Pilø, co-director of the Glacier The Archeology Program in Oppland County and the main author of the study also explain: "There is a strong decrease in the findings dating from the 11th century onwards.At this time, the search for reindeer with bow and arrow was replaced with mass collection techniques, including funnel-shaped trap systems and traps. intensive hunting probably reduced the number of wild reindeer. "

Medieval archeology professor Brit Solli, from the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, who led the study of the recovered artifacts, comments:" Once the plague reached the middle of the In the 14th century, trade and markets in the north also suffered, with fewer markets and fewer reindeer, activity in the high mountains decreased substantially. been influenced by the decrease in weather conditions during the Little Ice Age. "

Source of history:

Materials provided by University of Cambridge . The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons license. Note: Content can be edited by style and duration.


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