• 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
Rain and records continue to fall in Bergen
There have been only four days in August that didn't require an umbrella. Photo: Emil Breistein / NTB scanpix

The drenched city has set its third rain-related record of the summer and one more is likely.

Norway double murder: Victim wanted to leave husband
A makeshift memorial established for the victims. Photo: Ole-Tommy Pedersen / Finnmarken / NTB scanpix

The woman who was shot and killed along with her 12-year-old son in Kirkenes was in the process of leaving her husband but was worried about her son's immigration status.

Expats say it's not just Norway's weather that's cold
Plenty of nature and free time, but can you find a Norwegian friend to join you? Photo: saipal/Flickr

Norway is one of the hardest countries to settle in to as a foreigners, according to a new survey.

Mother and son killed in Arctic Norway shooting
Flag flies at half mast at Kirkenes Primary School after news that a seventh-grade student was killed. Photo: Ole-Tommy Pedersen /Finnmarken / NTB scanpix

UPDATED: A seventh-grade student and his mother were shot and killed early on Monday in the northern city of Kirkenes.

323 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway
It's unknown whether all 323 animals were killed by one lightning strike. Photo: Håvard Kjøntvedt / Statens naturoppsyn / NTB scanpix

Nature officials say they can't recall such a large number of animals dying from lightning before.

Oh crap! Norwegian gets stuck in loo over phone
The man was apparently overcome by nausea and vomiting. Photo: Björn Larsson Ask /TT file picture

Firemen in Norway came to the rescue Friday of a man who climbed into an outdoor public toilet to retrieve a friend's cell phone, after he got stuck in the tank.

Appeal over Breivik's treatment due in January
Breivik charged Norwegian authorities of violating his human rights by holding him in isolation for almost five years. Photo: Lise Aserud / NTB Scanpix

Norway's appeal against being found guilty of subjecting mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik to "inhuman" treatment by keeping him in solitary confinement, will go to court in January, judicial officials said Friday.

One in four 'on drugs' in Oslo's nightclubs
Photo: Colourbox

City's nightclubs appeal to the police to help cut down drug use.

Philippine ceasefire deal reached in Norway
FM Børge Brende applauds as Philippine government representative Jesus Dureza and Communist representative Luis Jalandoni announce the ceasefire. Photo: Berit Roald/NTB Scanpix

UPDATED: In Oslo, a "major breakthrough" in ending one of Asia's longest running insurgencies.

Norway’s Progress Party wants a burqini ban
Stenersen said the burqini, shown here on a woman at a beach in Tunisia, has no place in Norway. Photo: FETHI BELAID/AFP/SCANPIX

The party's leader in Oslo wants the "cloth prison" barred from Norwegian beaches.

Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Frozen effect bringing 'too many tourists' to Norway
Travel
Frozen effect bringing 'too many tourists' to Norway
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Norway's angel princess divorces novelist husband
Norway's angel princess divorces novelist husband
Norwegian motorist kills 19 reindeer in bloody collision
National
Norwegian motorist kills 19 reindeer in bloody collision
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
'Tick here please': Changing gender in Norway gets easier
Lifestyle
'Tick here please': Changing gender in Norway gets easier
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
National
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Education
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Norway's ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
National
Norway makes ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
International
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars
National
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars – yet
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
National
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
National
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
2,080
jobs available