• Norway edition
 
Iron age horse found as Norway glacier melts
Iron age horse dung, bones and shoes -- Oppland County Council

Iron age horse found as Norway glacier melts

Published: 17 Sep 2013 12:30 GMT+02:00
Updated: 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.
 
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
Muslim politician to run for mayor in Oslo
Former leader of Islamic Council Norway, Shoaib Sultan (right) with its new leader, Senaid Kobilica. Photo: Berit Roald / Scanpix

Muslim politician to run for mayor in Oslo

Shoaib Sultan, a Green Party politician and the former head of Norway's Islamic Council, is set to run for mayor of Oslo, it was announced on Tuesday. READ  

Boy band Janoskians' singer arrested in Oslo
The Janoskians with lead singer James Yammouni (centre). Photo: Shutterstock

Boy band Janoskians' singer arrested in Oslo

Australian music group The Janoskians had their singer James Yammouni arrested in Oslo after one of their gigs got out of control on Sunday night. READ  

Norway's Princess of the Paranormal under fire
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

Norway's Princess of the Paranormal under fire

Princess Märtha Louise faced criticism from her own family after she collaborated on Sunday with an American clairvoyant who contacts the dead. READ  

Norway considers joining US to fight in Iraq
Norway foreign minister Boerge Brende. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Norway considers joining US to fight in Iraq

Norway is considering making a military contribution to the US-led coalition against the Islamic State jihadist group, its foreign minister said Monday. READ  

Norway's cable operator Get AS sold to Denmark
Get AS is Norway's second-largest telecoms cable operator. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Norway's cable operator Get AS sold to Denmark

Get AS, the second-largest cable operator in Norway, is to be bought by Danish telecoms group TDC for 13.8 billion kroner, it was announced on Monday. READ  

Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km

Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km

A young child was found alone and wearing only her pants and boots early Monday morning in Finnmark, North Norway after sleepwalking from her home for over four kilometres. READ  

Photo: Baby cliff edge shocker in Norway
This baby faced a drop of 600 meters while crawling on the edge of Pulpit Rock in Ryfylke. Photo: Fred Sirevåg / NTB scanpix

Photo: Baby cliff edge shocker in Norway

A hillwalker in one of Norway's most popular tourist spots captured the chilling moment a baby was left to pose for his parents just centimeters from death on Sunday. READ  

'Expect change in Sweden', says Støre
Norway's Labour party leader Jonas Gahr Støre gives his prediction for the Sweden general election. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB scanpix

'Expect change in Sweden', says Støre

Chairman of the Norwegian Labour Party, Jonas Gahr Støre, believes the polls point to a change of government in Sweden as the votes are counted on Sunday night. READ  

Budapest stages Hungary / Norway demo

Budapest stages Hungary / Norway demo

Around 1,000 people took to the streets of Budapest at the weekend to protest against the government's crackdown on civil society, following police raids on two Norway-backed NGOs. READ  

Attacker charged with 84 sex crimes in Norway
A 20-year-old man from Gudbrandsdalen charged for multiple sex attacks on young girls. Photo: Man in a mask showing hand to attack Shutterstock

Attacker charged with 84 sex crimes in Norway

A notorious sex attacker from South-East Norway has been charged on Friday for raping two 14-year-old girls and infecting them with Chlamydia, bringing his tally of sex crimes on underage girls to 84 in under two years. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Society
Norwegian brewery pulls 'fart-smelling' beer
Sport
Ødegaard: Norway's youngest player ever
Features
Meet Norway's raining kings of fashion
National
Miracle cat survives 20 gunshots in Norway
National
Second death within hours at Chess Olympics
National
Norway and Sweden mark 200 years of peace
Culture
Interview: Helene Meldahl, selfie artist
Society
Now serving ... Norway's smallest bar
Travel
Floating Northern Lights hotel planned in Norway
National
Circus camel escapes again
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
Society
Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Norway
National
Norway lifts Segway ban
Culture
GALLERY: Ten great songs about Norway
Society
Høie promises to reform sex change law
Education
Norway fjord invaded by monster jellyfish
Culture
VIDEO: Norwegian anti-Facebook film goes viral
Culture
Norway pop duo hits number 4 on US charts
Sport
Norway fan wins big on Suarez bite bet
National
Solberg 'most chatty' leader on Twitter
Culture
British Airways takes 'Slow TV' to the skies
International
Top Norway lawyers back Snowden Nobel
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

342
jobs available