As the warm summer sun continues to shine, acclaimed glacial archaeologists from Secrets of the Ice are continuing to come across amazing discoveries – along with the aid of a perceptive local hiker!

Recently, The Viking Herald reported how, surveying an inhospitable area nearly 2,000 meters high, the team had just come across a horse bridle stuck between rocks at the Lendbreen mountain pass. 

The discovery pointed to its use some 1,000 years ago as a route for farmers, herders, merchants, and their animals. 

This summer’s search has also yielded medieval crossbow bolts and a horse snowshoe. 

Among the remarkable finds this season was a 900-year-old arrow, which was found lying exposed on an icy surface. Photo: Secrets of the Ice

What to do when you find a historic item 

Now, thanks to a quick-thinking mountain hiker, the group was informed of an arrow he had spotted at the edge of the ice at one of the sites they had been surveying. 

Praising the local trekker for doing everything correctly—taking the GPS coordinates, leaving the arrow where it was, and contacting the Secrets of the Ice team—the crew quickly followed up on his lead. 

Heading to the location, they spotted the hiker’s arrow and collected it, estimating it to be from the Late Iron Age some 1,200 years ago.

Experience told them this was not just a random stick but an arrow due to a nock at the back, where the bowstring would have been threaded, and the hole for the arrowhead. 

The arrowhead itself was missing. 

But that wasn’t all. In a separate instance, going back over a patch of ice close to where the perceptive hiker had been walking, the team found a 900-year-old arrow lying on the surface.

Having previously ventured there and found various arrows and stone arrowheads, they made sure to don their crampons and give the site a good going-over. 

The arrow shaft they stumbled across was made of wood and in remarkable condition. 

The remote areas around Galdhøpiggen have proven to be a goldmine of historic artifacts for the dedicated Secrets of the Ice archaeologists. Photo: Secrets of the Ice

The other side of climate change 

Like the horse bridle, the new finds will be taken to specialists in the lab to be radiocarbon-dated, after which we should have a more accurate idea of how old they are. 

These results are expected in a few months’ time.

It was hikers who first started finding items in this area some four or five decades ago. 

Snowed over for centuries, here in the shadow of Norway’s highest point, Galdhøpiggen, this remote outpost has proved to be particularly rich in rare historic finds as the ice melts due to climate change. 

While well aware of the serious consequences of this process for the planet as a whole, a team of archaeologists from the Innlandet County Municipality and the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo has developed a niche form of research, searching for and recording items left behind by their ancestors more than a millennium ago.

Preserved in ice all that time, these objects may give up any number of secrets about how people lived and who they came into contact with. 

For more insights and updates on these fascinating discoveries, be sure to check out the Secrets of the Ice Facebook page

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