Climate Change Is Thawing 3,000-Year-Old Artifacts

Global warming is threatening these historical relics.

Thanks to climate change, thawing ice in Oppland, Northern Norway has become a treasure trove of ancient artifacts like a 1,500-year-old arrow, an Iron Age tunic, and a 3,400-year-old shoe.

The glacier program called Secrets of the Ice is documenting the artifacts found on the local ice patches, CNN reports.

The team isn’t doing much digging- the team surveys the areas of the ice to look for thawed artifacts. Since 2006, almost 3,000 different artifacts have been discovered thanks to the melting ice.

“Glaciers melt back at an alarming pace because of higher temperatures, less snow and more rain, and in doing so they expose archaeological finds that have been safely ice-covered for centuries or even millennia,” Vibeke Vandrup Martens, an archaeologist at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, explained to CNN.

It’s a delicate feet to acquire these treasures as time is limited- once exposed to the sun, air, and temperate outside of the ice, the artifacts begin to deteriorate rapidly.

“At our sites we experience a rapid melting and bits and pieces of human history melt out in reverse time order,” Lars Pilø, Secrets of the Ice’s co-director, told CNN.

One of the biggest discoveries to be made thanks to climate change was a 5,300-year-old “ice mummy” found in 1991 in the Alps.

Jørgen Hollesen, a researcher at the National Museum of Denmark, says the need to protect the precious sites is “urgent” and the sites “hold irreplaceable human and environmental records of the past” worth monitoring and protecting.

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