• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Iron age horse found as Norway glacier melts

Richard Orange · 17 Sep 2013, 12:30

Published: 17 Sep 2013 12:30 GMT+02:00

"It shows that they were using horses for transport in the high alpine zone, in areas where we were quite surprised to find them,"  Lars Pilø, the head of snow archeology at Oppland council told The Local. 
 
The find, which was made in August, is the latest of a string of discoveries archeologists have been making around the world, as global warming melts glaciers and ice sheets, leaving perfectly preserved relics behind. 
 
"Even though the finds up there are fantastic, the background to the science is very serious," Pilø said. "Norwegian climate experts tell us that all the ice in the Norwegian high mountains will be gone by the end of this century, and of course that also adds an urgency to the work that we're doing." 
 
Pilø, who is Danish, and his team have been concentrating their research around the Lendbreen glacier near Lillehammer, which he believes was used both for hunting and as a short cut over the mountains from the late iron-age to the early medieval period. 
 
"When it gets hot in the summer, the reindeer will get pestered by horseflies, and when they get horseflies they move up to the ice, which made the ice excellent hunting grounds," he explained. 
 
"The other reason that we have many finds is that people wold also cross the glaciers as a transport route over the mountains. You can imagine, if people went over ten times a year and dropped one thing every time, that adds up to a lot of items." 
 
He said the horse whose bones they discovered was probably used to carry reindeer carcasses back off the mountains to the villages below. 
 
The team have previously found perfectly preserved 1000-year-old horse manure, and horse shoes dropped in the ice. Earlier this year, they made headlines across the world when they found a 1,700-year-old woollen tunic, fully intact apart from the two patches sewed into it by its iron age owner.
Story continues below…
 
Pilø said it was important to keep the melting ice under constant observation as once an artefact defrosts, the team have just days to begin preserving it. 
 
"When they're in the ice, they're in the deep freezer, so they're incredibly well preserved. It's like they've been in a time machine," he explained. "But once they're out in the open the clock starts ticking really fast. We have to be there when they come out." 
 

Richard Orange (richard.orange@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
No distress call in Norway helicopter crash
The pilots reportedly gave an "everything okay" update shortly before the crash. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

The pilots in Friday’s fatal helicopter crash did not send out a distress call before the aircraft went down, indicating that there was no time to react.

Norway's oil fund to take on executive pay controversy
If the fund takes a stance on executive pay, it could be felt in corner offices around the world. Photo: Iris/Scanpix

Norway could greatly influence the global debate on CEO salaries with a change to its investment strategies.

Looming strike could paralyse Norway public services
Representatives of the four large trade union confederations and state representative Gisle Norheim (centre). Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

The state is "very far" from a labour agreement with some 100,000 public employees.

All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Rescue crews reported no signs of survivors. Photo: Marit Hommedal/Scanpix

UPDATED: Eleven dead bodies have been recovered and the two remaining people are presumed dead.

Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
A throw-back photo before the beard and hair reached their full potential. Photo: Lasse Matberg/Instagram

Hot enough to melt snow, this apparent reincarnation of Thor has captured hearts the world over.

Norway's sovereign fund posts negative return
Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's biggest, posted a negative return in the first quarter after being tapped by the government to balance its budget for the first time ever.

Philippine troops attack Norwegian hostage's captors
Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad (right) in a still from a previous video released by SITE. Photo: Screen Grab

Philippine warplanes on Thursday attacked Islamic militants holding a Norwegian and 19 other foreign hostages.

Norway vows to change child welfare practices
Minister of Children and Equality Solveig Horne has announced a series of changes to how the Norwegian Child Welfare Service operates. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

Following global protests, Norway prepares changes and reviews of the Child Welfare Service (Barnevernet).

Statoil tops expectations to stay in the black
The Statoil headquarters in Fornebu. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Norwegian oil giant Statoil held up better against lower oil prices than expected.

Philippines vows military strike on Norwegian's captors
The Abu Sayyaf terrorists have killed one captive and have threatened to kill the others, including Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad (right). Photo: NTB Scanpix

Following the execution of a Canadian hostage, Philippine President Benigno Aquino says he will 'neutralize' the terrorists still holding a Norwegian and up to 20 others.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Memo: Norway 'not mentally prepared' for refugees' impact
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Society
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
National
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose International Health Insurance
Politics
Norway's tough asylum plans face resistance
National
'Patriot' group Soldiers of Odin debut in Norway
National
Oslo is the real ‘Capital of Scandinavia’
Health
Norway ads use Hitler teddy bear to scare parents... about dust
National
Migrants: Norway 'sending us to death' in Russia
Norway under fire over tough new asylum plans
Health
Norway doctors push plan for 'tobacco-free generation'
2,107
jobs available