Norway’s oldest 3,000-year-old shoe recovered from melting glacier

(ORDO NEWS) — A 3,000-year-old small Bronze Age leather shoe, owned by a woman or a young man, is recognized as the oldest shoe in Norway.

It was discovered among thousands of other artifacts found among melting mountain glaciers over the past two decades. Now, however, climate change could put an end to all of these finds.

Unlike objects recovered from acidic swampy soils or buried under giant glaciers, artifacts recovered from Norwegian ice are most often in perfect condition, showing minimal decay and deformation even after thousands of years of being frozen.

This is due to the fact that the ice patches in this country are relatively stable, motionless and do not contain aggressive compounds. Completely intact weapons, clothing, textiles, and plant and animal remains all emerged from the ice, helping to shed light on thousands of years of Norwegian history.

In just a few decades, vast swaths of the Norwegian icelands have melted, releasing all of these wonderful artifacts and immediately exposing them to the elements.

“An analysis based on satellite imagery taken in 2020 shows that that more than 40% of the 10 ice patches with previously known finds have melted so far,” said archaeologist Birgitte Skar, co-author of the report.

“These figures force us to reckon with the threat of a rapid loss of finds released from the ice, not to mention the climatic consequences of all these processes.”

The 3,000-year-old shoe was discovered in 2007 in the mountainous region of Jotunheimen in southern Norway, along with several arrows and a wooden shovel. This suggests that the site was an important hunting ground.

The shoe, dating from around 1100 BC, is not only the oldest shoe in Norway, but possibly the oldest piece of clothing discovered in Scandinavia.

Further exploration of the Jotunheimen site revealed even older artifacts, including a 6,100-year-old arrow shaft, the only such ancient object found in Norwegian glaciers.

Its presence next to the shoe suggests that this place has been in constant use by humans for many millennia.


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