Climate Change Reveals Viking Age Artifacts Called an “Archaeologist’s Dream”

They include a dog bones still attached to a leash

Mountains in Norway
A melting glacier in Norway has revealed a plethora of "well-preserved artifacts."
Christiann Koepke/Unsplash

Despite the reports of temporary decreases in CO2 emissions and air pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic, human-caused climate change is still threatening communities around the globe as glaciers melt and sea levels rise.

If there can possibly be an upside to the environmental devastation, it can be found in Lendbreen, Norway, where a previously unknown Viking Age mountain pass was discovered due to a melting glacier. But according to research published this month, a path wasn’t all archaeologists unearthed.

“Located on Lomseggen Ridge, the passageway is absolutely littered with well-preserved artifacts, including mittens, shoes, horse snowshoes, bits of sleds, and even the remains of a dog still attached to its collar and leash,” reported Gizmodo. You read that right, a dog skeleton with its leash

Lars Pilø, one of the authors of the research and co-director of Norway’s Glacier Archaeology Program, told Gizmodo that “the finds are just an archaeologist’s dream.” But it comes with the caveat that climate change is the main reason these artifacts are appearing, and that accelerating threat puts a stopwatch on their preservation work.

The truth is that climate change is simultaneously increasing archaeological work in some areas (like those with melting glaciers) and threatening it on others, like along the southeastern coast of the U.S. where 20,000 sites could be destroyed by rising sea levels by the end of the century.

As for the scientists in Lendbreen, they’ll continue to collect artifacts as fast as they can. The path was initially discovered back in 2011, but many of the bones, tools and other remains are more recent finds. Head over to Gizmodo to see photos of them (including the preserved pup).

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