(ORDO NEWS) — Norwegian archaeologists reported on the results of the study of the Hestfonni ice spot. Within a few years, they managed to discover ancient stone markers, iron horseshoes, one of which turned out to be about 700 years old, as well as artifacts related to reindeer hunting.
Among the finds, the remains of a leather shoe stand out, which date back to about 300 AD. This is reported by the Secrets of the Ice project team on their Facebook page.
Climate change has allowed the development of glacial archeology, in which scientists search for and study artifacts and remains that have long been stored in the ice.
The impetus for the development of this scientific direction was an ice mummy accidentally found in 1991, which had lain in the Ötztal Alps for more than five millennia, which can be read in detail in our material “From the abyss in the ice”.
Research in the field of glacial archeology is carried out in different regions of the planet. So, in Canada, they found the mummies of a wolf cub and a caribou, in Mongolia, they found the remains of argali and ancient weapons.
For such studies, the Scandinavian mountains, where the largest glaciers of mainland Europe are located, turned out to be a promising region.
Systematic work on this territory began after 2011, when archaeologists found a woolen tunic frozen into the ice in the area of the Lendbren mountain pass, dating back to the 3rd-4th centuries AD.
Since then, archaeologists, among whom the Secrets of the Ice project team stands out, have managed to make hundreds of finds, the oldest of which are about six thousand years old.
In the last few years alone, they have found an ancient busy road, a lost Viking settlement, a medieval candle box, wooden skis, and hundreds of “scare sticks”.
Archaeologists from the Secrets of the Ice project reported the results of a study of the mountain pass where the Hestfonni ice spot is located.
The name of this site, located near Lendbren, suggested that at some time in the past this place was associated with horses, although it is located at a high altitude. In particular, this pass was used by local pastoralists during seasonal movements.
The first few expeditions to the area brought only poorly preserved artifacts related to reindeer hunting. In addition, scientists have found several stone markers. Among the first finds made six years ago, which would indicate the movement of people in this area, were a horse bone and an iron horseshoe.
Judging by the shape of this artifact, it was made in the post-medieval period. Two years later, the collection of finds was replenished with older items. So, on the surface of the ice, archaeologists discovered a horseshoe, which dates back to about 1300 AD.
At the end of the 2019 field season, archaeologists received reports from hikers that the Hestfonni ice patch had melted badly.
The researchers were given photographs of the finds and their GPS coordinates. Upon arriving at the site, they discovered a leather artifact that turned out to be a shoe, believed to be from the Iron Age. Recent radiocarbon analysis has confirmed archaeologists’ hunch – the find dates back to around 300 AD.
Other finds made at this site included, for example, horse dung and fragments of textiles. With the help of radiocarbon dating, scientists have established that they belong to the Viking Age and the previous centuries.
Archaeologists stressed that the Hestfonni ice slick has not yet melted as much as Landbren did, so many discoveries are likely to be made there in the coming years.
By examining stone markers located in the Hestfonni area, archaeologists were able to discover three ancient paths along which people moved. During the study of one of them, scientists came across the remains of an old stone shelter, which was probably used to protect from the weather.
In addition, they found artifacts related to deer hunting: a fragment of a bow, “scare sticks”, as well as two arrows and one arrowhead. The latter turned out to be rather unusual. It was made from horn and decorated with two carved zigzags about 2000-3000 years ago.
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