An incredibly well-preserved Viking sword and a roughly 1,400-old arrow were found by hunters on a remote mountain in Southern Norway.
Last summer the Glacier Archaeology Program at Oppland County Council was notified about the sword, which was found at 1640 m [5381 feet] in the high mountains of the Lesja area. A roughly 1,400-year-old arrow was found in the same area.
Four friends while hunting reindeer in Oppland noticed a rusty object sticking out of the rocks. Since 2006 Norwegian archeologists have searched for artifacts left behind by ancient reindeer hunters in the mountainous region of Jotunheimen in southern Norway.
According to archeologist Lars Pilø at Oppland County Council, the sword is a common type of Viking sword, and the context and the preservation of the sword is special. Archaeologist Espen Finstad confirmed to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet that the sword was a Viking Age relic created in the 900s AD. Finstad is also the chief editor of Secrets of the Ice , a group of glacier archaeologists working in the same region where the Viking Age sword was found.
Ancient reindeer hunters’ tools and belongings come into view as ice patches melt away as a result of climate changes. In Norway, reindeer often live on ice patches during the summer months to avoid parasitic insects.
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“To my knowledge, a Viking sword has never been found at such a high altitude before,” said the man who discovered the sword, Einar Åmbakk.
Since 2006 more than 2,000 of these artifacts have been found, and scientists are now determining when and how people hunted reindeer in Norway’s mountains over the ages with tools having been lying on the mountain surface for around 1,100 years.
Also a number of artifacts dating back to the 14th century, from the time when the plague hit Norway, has been found. The excellent quality of these items is no doubt due to the cold, dry conditions on the mountain.
The Secrets of the Ice website, is describing the context in which the sword was found:
“The find spot is in a scree-covered area with traces of permafrost movement, situated at 1640 m [5380 ft.] above sea level. Einar Åmbakk told us that the sword was lying with the hilt down between the stones and half of the blade sticking out. He had seen the blade and pulled it out. Only then did he understand that he had found a sword.”
Researchers at the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo in Norway, have studied and dated 153 of the objects with radiocarbon dating. The oldest artifacts are dated to 6,000 years ago, which means that there’s been hunting there for at least that long.”
The retreat of mountain glaciers and ice patches in Oppland is part of a worldwide phenomenon linked to climate change.
Ancient Hunting Ground Discovered in Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg