Archaeological Discovery in Norway Highlights Climate Change

The newest blog post from Ingemar Pongratz:

Ancient Bow

Many experts say these weapons were found due to the effects of climate change.

An amazing discovery of extremely well preserved neolithic hunting weaponry was made in the mountains of Norway.  The find is both exciting and a bit unnerving all at once.  Huffington Post has the full story.

Martin Callanan, an archaeologist from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology made the discovery.  While he was excited to find such a rare piece of history in such great condition, his excitement was tempered by the way it was found.  In both 2010 and 2011 similar artifacts were found in the same region due to a high level of snowmelt.  Since these discoveries, Callanan and his colleagues have been trekking into the mountains around this time of year in search of more pristine artifacts that have been shielded by snow and ice over the centuries.

Callanan’s persistence paid off this year when he discovered a bow and several arrows that date back almost 5,400 years to the neolithic period.  Experts believe these weapons were probably used to hunt reindeer and other regional game.  The concern with these great finds is that an unusual amount of snowmelt seems to be a year over year trend rather than an aberration.  Callanan made  an interesting point saying, “It’s actually a little bit unnerving that they’re so old and that they’re coming out right now.”

The fact that these artifacts are emerging now presents somewhat of a quandary for archaeologists and climate experts alike.  Most experts agree that the recent high levels of snowmelt in that region of the world are most likely a result of global warming.  While scientists are obviously concerned about the implications of these temperature changes, archaeologists are happy to have this influx of historic items that probably would not have been found otherwise. Even so, they have their own concerns.

James Dixon, an anthropology professor at the University of Mexico who was interviewed about the discovery expressed his sentiments on the irony of the finds.  He says the more the ice melts the more artifacts are likely to be found.  However, this also means that hundreds of artifacts that do not get discovered are now exposed to the elements and will likely be destroyed.

While the discovery of these artifacts may be a sign of consistent climate change, it may also mean the loss of parts of the human historical record.

Thanks for reading and stop by again soon for the more news from the scientific world.


via Ingemar Pongratz


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