A well-preserved find has been discovered in Norway’s melting glacier: archaeologists have discovered a leather shoe worn 3,000 years ago

Unlike objects found in acidic soils or under huge glaciers, objects found in Norwegian icebergs are often perfectly preserved even after several thousand years – almost unbroken, undeformed. This is because the ice sections are relatively stable and do not contain corrosive components.

Practically intact weapons, clothing, textiles, plants and animal remains have been found in the ice sections, all of which have helped to recreate thousands of years of Norwegian history.

But now, due to climate change, the findings in the ice sections may be damaged, the study’s authors write. Over the last few decades, large areas of ice have been melting, artifacts are appearing on the surface, exposed to air, wind, sun, etc., and virtually all such artifacts will be damaged or destroyed.

The oldest shoe in Norway and other finds. Photo by Vegard Vike, Cultural History Museum in Oslo.

“Based on the 2020 A study of satellite imagery was conducted that showed that more than 40 percent of out of 10 ice bands in which various objects were found, ”said Birgitte Skar, an archaeologist and employee of the NMTU Museum, one of the authors of the study.
According to the archaeologist, these figures indicate a threat to the finds in the ice belts, not to mention a threat to the ice itself, which is an archive of the climate.

The melting past

Sections of ice form at high altitudes where snow and ice do not melt in the summer. Unlike glaciers, ice sections do not move, so frozen objects have been stable in them for hundreds or even thousands of years. When the ice starts to melt, you can see various things – perfectly preserved, such as when it freezes under the ice. Unfortunately, scientists are unable to assemble these objects as soon as the ice begins to melt, creating a risk that environmental factors will damage the artifacts.

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Ice archeology provides invaluable material for archaeologists exploring ancient cultures, plants, and animals in mountainous, icy regions around the world. In Norway, researchers have found thousands of artifacts belonging to the Bronze Age hunter tribes that hunted reindeer in northern Europe and southern Scandinavia. Deer are drawn to icebergs in the mountains during the summer months in search of shelter from the heat. Hunters followed the deer and left behind many artifacts.

3,000-year-old shoe, which in 2007 found in the mountainous region of Jutunheim in southern Norway is an exceptional find. The leather shoe is 35 or 36 in size, meaning it belonged to a woman or a teenager. He found several arrows and a wooden shovel near the shoe, indicating that hunting was taking place in the area.

The oldest shoe in Norway and other finds.  Photo by Vegard Vike, Cultural History Museum in Oslo.

The oldest shoe in Norway and other finds. Photo by Vegard Vike, Cultural History Museum in Oslo.

Approximately 1,100 m. pr. Kr. The shoe is not only the oldest shoe in Norway, but also probably the oldest of the footwear and clothing items found in Scandinavia, researchers say.

Archaeologists have found even older artifacts in the Jutunheim region, one of which is the 6,100-year-old arrowhead, the oldest object found in Norway’s icebergs. Since the boom stem was found near the shoe, researchers believe there have been people in the area for more than a millennium.

The authors of the study worry that, despite the exceptional findings, other cultural artifacts will not be discovered due to climate change. 2022 According to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, since 2006 melted 364 square miles of ice (equivalent to about half the area of ​​New York City). If artifacts from these locations are not collected in the near future, they are likely to be covered or irreparably damaged.

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In Norway, especially in its northern part, few ice rinks are systematically surveyed, most of them not surveyed at all. Researchers are proposing to launch a national iceberg monitoring program, with remote sensors to systematically monitor icebands and capture thawed objects as soon as they appear.

“We thought there was no life on the ice, so it doesn’t matter. Now the attitude is changing, but we can’t wait any longer – huge areas of unique material are melting and disappearing for centuries, “said Jorgen Rosvold, a biologist and deputy director of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.




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