Category Archives: NORWAY

6,000-Year-Old Pre-Viking Artifacts Discovered in Norway as Climate Change Melts Glaciers

6,000-Year-Old Pre-Viking Artifacts Discovered in Norway as Climate Change Melts Glaciers

Over thousands of years, ancient objects hidden in snow and ice in the Norwegian mountains appear at an unprecedented rate, with archeologists trying to gather them all before it is too late.

The research results were remarkable: iron arrowheads from 1,500 years old, tunics from the Iron Age and even the remains of the wooden ski with leather binding left somewhere behind sometime in the year 700.

The cause behind the rapid emergence of these old relics is climate change, which dramatically reduces the alpine ice, which is a time capsule for lost treasures, by low natural snow and hotter summers.

Lars Pilö, an archeologist who works for the county council of Oppland, told Archaeology in 2013 that “ice is a time machine.” “When you’re really lucky, the artifacts are exposed for the first time since they were lost.”

Unlike glaciers, which tend to crush and grind objects as they move down a mountain, the majority of artifacts coming out of Norway are being recovered from ice patches.

These isolated non-moving accumulations of ice and snow are significant to the archeological record because of their extreme stability, with many containing layers of seasonal snowpack dating back thousands of years.

Sections of ice in the Juvfonne snow patch in Jotunheimen, Norway, are an astounding 7,600 years old, according to a 2017 study.

An Iron Age tunic recovered from the Lendbreen ice patch in August 2011. 

Despite their remote setting and scarce visits from modern-day humans, ice patches for thousands of years were veritable hot spots for ancient hunters.

In the summer, reindeer herds often crowd together on the islands of snow and ice to escape pesky, biting botflies, which have a strong aversion to the cooler temperatures. In the past, hunters would follow, losing or forgetting precious equipment along the way that was later buried and preserved in the winter snows.

Some items, such as the 1,600-year-old knife shown in the video below, look as if they were lost only a few decades ago.

Because ice patches in the past have contracted and expanded due to temperature shifts, many of the objects recovered have likely one time or another been exposed and then reburied by snow and ice. They also have a tendency to be carried by meltwater.

As explained on the Secrets of the Ice Facebook page, the 2,600-year-old arrows shown in the image below were washed downslope far from the place they were originally lost.

Arrows discovered in the scree of an ice patch were later determined to date back to 600 B.C.

Some of the most exciting finds are those objects found emerging from the surface of the ice, a sign that they have previously been untouched by melting, according to researchers from the Oppland County Council.

These artifacts are generally exceptionally preserved, with organic materials such as leather and fabric still present. It’s also an indication of the severity of anthropogenic global warming, with certain ice patches in Norway estimated to have retreated to levels last seen during the Stone Age.

“It’s very impressive when you can say this melting ice is 5,000 years old, and this is the only moment in the last 7,000 years that the ice has been retreating,” Albert Hafner, an archaeologist at the University of Bernsays Hafner, told Archaeology. “Ice is the most emotional way to show climate change.”

The preserved remains of a 3400-year-old hide shoe discovered on an ice patch in 2006. Over the last 30 years, some 2,000 artifacts have been recovered from Norway’s melting ice fields.

Unfortunately for archaeologists, the rate of ice loss coupled with the extremely small annual windows of opportunity to scour the alpine patches means some newly exposed items will break down and disappear before anyone has a chance to study them.

“This material is like the library of Alexandria. It is incredibly valuable and it’s on fire now,” George Hambrecht, an anthropologist at the University of Maryland, College Park, told New Scientist.

Right now you might be thinking, “I want to help find and preserve these incredible artifacts!,” and we agree, it sounds like quite the adventure to take a romp into the Norwegian wilderness and possibly stumble upon a well-preserved Viking Sword (see below). The reality, however, is that fieldwork can sometimes be laborious and uncomfortable, with every day at the mercy of Mother Nature’s fickle moods.

That said, the Oppland County Council did accept volunteers last spring and it’s possible, especially with so many finds emerging from the ice each year, that others may be called upon to assist.

“We may not find much (or we could strike the jackpot, who knows),” Lars Pilø wrote last April in the Secrets blog. “It all depends on the melting conditions, and they develop over the summer and during fieldwork. If we are unlucky, the scenery and the team spirit make up for the lack of finds.”

A Viking sword discovered in 2017 and dating back to c. AD 850-950.

Divers exploring a shipwreck share video of encounter with enormous alien-like egg sac

Divers exploring a shipwreck share video of encounter with enormous alien-like egg sac

The deep seas reveal the most alien-looking life we will ever have without leaving Earth. Over and over. This was exactly the case at the recent water dive in the vicinity of Ørstafjorden, Norway.

While discovering a shipwreck of the Second World War, according to the BBC, sailors were on their way back, when they stumbled upon a mysterious translucent orb floating just 50 feet above the ocean floor.

At first sight, the giant blob looking totally alien, with a tissue-like material inside it — as large as the strange divers swimming around it — looks.  One of the researchers documented the strange encounter on video.

As it turned out, the otherworldly-looking object was actually a giant squid egg sac.

In the two-and-a-half minute recording of the encounter, divers Ronald Raasch and Nils Baadnes can be seen curiously circling the enormous ball, which appeared translucent in the cloudy water.

As they inspected the orb closer, they shined their flashlights onto the surface of the object’s exterior — illuminating the silhouettes of the swarms of tiny, maggot-like creatures wriggling around inside. The egg sac was likely carrying thousands of baby squids.

The official account for the researchers’ REV ocean vessel tweeted out the full video of the encounter, complete with the divers’ conclusions about the strange-looking orb: “#Mysterysolved! Captain Baadnes & Ronald Raasch discovered this giant gel ball while diving in Orstafjord, which is actually an eggmass of 10-armed.”

These egg masses are very rarely glimpsed because the sacs fill up with water and sink down toward the bottom of the ocean floor, where it is difficult for divers to reach.

But this latest sighting in the deep waters off the shores of Norway isn’t the first time that marine researchers have unexpectedly crossed paths with these giant jelly nurseries.

In 2015, squid expert Danna Staaf captured her encounter with a 13-foot-wide red flying squid egg mass while diving in the Gulf of California. In the subsequently-released study, Staaf noted that the giant egg sac likely functioned as a protective shield for the squid embryos inside it, keeping them safe from predators and parasites.

“We know that mama squid has these special glands in her body that make jelly and she mixes that jelly with her eggs in some way,” Staaf explained in a video published by National Geographic.

“And it’s concentrated. So when she produces it, it’s just a concentrated ball of snot with eggs in it, basically. We don’t know exactly what the chemicals are but they have some reaction, some ability to absorb water and expand in water. And we’ve all seen artificial chemicals like that… but this is just nature’s version of that.”

Todarodes sagittatus, the European flying squid that lives in the Norwegian Sea and which might have been the species that laid the egg sac in question.

The elastic nature of the egg sac is also believed to help maintain enough space between each squid embryo so that each egg can get enough oxygen to somehow support the development of the baby squids.

When Staaf and her team tried to grow young squid inside the laboratory using in vitro fertilization, the embryos — grown without the protective egg sac from their mother — became infected and were unable to mature properly.

One unsolved question still remains from Baadnes’ and Raasch’s recent egg encounter: Which species of squid did the egg sac come from? Although the REV account attributed the eggs to a “10-armed squid,” there are no known squid species with that many tentacles.

It’s difficult to pinpoint which species may have laid the giant egg sac. For one, several different species lay their eggs inside similar jelly-like protectors. The egg sacs between different species aren’t easily distinguishable simply by looking at them, either.

The baby squid visible within the egg sac.

Some possible species known to live in the Norwegian waters are the Boreoatlantic armhook squid (Gonatus fabricii) and the European flying squid (Todarodes sagittatus), but we’ll never know for sure where this enormous egg mass came from.

There is much that scientists still don’t know about these elusive sea creatures and how they breed, and the little we know about these animals might as well make them alien to us after all.

1,700-Year-Old Roman Bronze Vessel Discovered in Norway

1,700-Year-Old Roman Bronze Vessel Discovered in Norway

Archaeologists do not every day have the opportunity to discover ancient objects in central Norway.

Sometime in the Gaula River valley, southern Trøndelag, scientists report that about 150-300 CE a person died in the place now called Gylland.

The remains were laid in a bronze vessel after the body was cremated. This was then covered or wrapped in birch bark before being buried under several hundred kilos of stone.

1,700-Year-Old Roman Bronze Vessel Discovered in Norway
The bowl is now being examined in more detail at NTNU’s conservation laboratory.

Now archaeologists from the NTNU University Museum lifted a stone slab and almost lost their breath from excitement when they saw what lay below it.

“We’d gone over the spot with the metal detector, and so we knew that there was something under one of the stone slabs in the burial cairn,” says archaeologist Ellen Grav Ellingsen, who filmed the discovery with her mobile phone when the rock was lifted away.

“When I saw what was lying there, my hands got so shaky that I could hardly film. This is a find an archaeologist is lucky to experience once in their career!” says Ellingsen.

“The cauldron from Gylland belongs to a type of bronze vessel that goes by the name østlandskjele. The name is related to the fact that many vessels of this type are found in graves in Eastern Norway.

NTNU University Museum

This kind of vessel was manufactured in Italy or in the Roman provinces of the Rhine region and came to Scandinavia as a result of either trade or an exchange of gifts.

The vessels were mass-produced and possibly intended for export to the Scandinavian area. In Scandinavia, they often ended up as burial urns.

Although they were mass-produced, this bowl is a rare find,” Norwegian SciTech News reports.

“The last find of a bronze bowl in central Norway was in the 1960s. Nationally, we know of about 50 vessels of this particular type,” says Moe Henriksen, an archaeologist, and the project manager for the excavation in Gylland.

Imported goods like bronze vessels and glass jugs were reserved for society’s upper classes. The discovery in Gylland testifies to the power and prosperity in this region in Roman times.

The bowl was in bad shape and it’s likely that the pressure from the stones compressed it.

“The bowl is now being examined more closely in NTNU’s conservation laboratory. An x-ray of the vessel shows that it doesn’t contain any metal objects,” says Moe Henriksen.

Heidi Fløttum Westgaard (foreground) and Ellen Grav Ellingsen reveal the bowl. Photo: Astrid Kviseth / NTNU University Museum

“But the remains of organic material, like combs and bone needles, may still be hidden in the soil inside the bowl. In the next few weeks we should know whether other objects accompanied the deceased into the grave,” she adds.

Viking imported finds discovered in cemetery works

New archaeological findings show that Vikings “imported” from the Celts

New archaeological findings show that Vikings “imported” from the Celts
The finding took archaeologists by surprise

Archeologists expected beer or other brewing materials to be found, but they found something more valuable.

It was supposed to be a simple, routine expansion work at Byneset Cemetery, adjacent to the medieval Steine Church in Trondheim, Norway.

As in several other European countries, Norwegian law requires archeological studies to precede such works — and in this case it paid off in spades.

Archaeologists have discovered a trove of Viking artifacts, including one which is of a foreign origin: they come from Ireland, researchers say. 

Jo Sindre Pålsson Eidshaug and Øyunn Wathne Sæther, both research assistants at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) University Museum, say that what really drew their attention was a small brooch — a Celtic, gold-plated silver fitting from a book.

“This is a decorative fitting,” Eidshaug said of his discovery. “It almost looks like it’s gilded. It’s a kind of decorative fitting, I would guess.”

A fitting, probably from a book. The style is typical of Celtic and Irish areas and dates from the 800s. Traces of gilding can be seen in the recesses.

It might have been part of a bigger, religious ensemble, or a stand-alone book fitting. Right now, any such claims are little more than speculation. But what’s interesting is how it got there.

It’s no secret that Vikings roamed Europe’s seas, plundered the coast of England for centuries. Crossing over to Ireland, while not easy, was certainly possible for the skilled seamen. But even so, finding Celtic items in Viking sites is not common, with only a few similar sites previously discovered.

In archaeology, this is technically called an import. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it was bought or traded for, and again — taking into consideration the well-known habits of the Vikings.

“Someone very politely called this an Irish import, but that’s just a nice way of saying that someone was in Ireland and picked up an interesting item,” said museum director Reidar Andersen, who was also at the site.

This isn’t to say that the item was definitely stolen. Whether or not the Vikings’ voyages to Ireland were peaceful or not is anyone’s guess right now.

“Yes, that’s right. We know that the Vikings went out on raids. They went to Ireland and brought things back. But how peacefully it all transpired, I won’t venture to say,” he said.

Erecting tents at the excavation site with Steine Church behind.

The site itself holds great promise for the future. Archaeologists also came across a belt buckle, a key, and a knife blade, so they have high hopes for upcoming digs.

The church itself dates from the 1140s and used to be connected to a large, old farm estate from the time of the Vikings, which will also be studied next year.

Source: heritagedaily

Viking sword discovery: Hunter finds a 1,100-year-old weapon on Norwegian mountain

Viking sword discovery: Hunter finds a 1,100-year-old weapon on Norwegian mountain

Viking sword discovery: Hunter finds a 1,100-year-old weapon on Norwegian mountain

Researchers were able to determine that the sword dates back to 850-950 AD, and was likely owned by a Viking swordsman.

Reindeer hunters in Norway were surprised to find an amazingly well-preserved Viking sword while they were hunting in a high altitude area.

Secrets of The Ice, a Norwegian glacial archaeology organization, reports that a 1,200-year-old Viking sword was discovered by reindeer hunters in Norway.

Reindeer hunter Einar Åmbakk and 2 friends were hunting in the high mountains of Oppland County, Norway, when they stumbled across this ancient sword. The sword was wedged between two rocks on a plain filled with the small rocks that pepper the Norwegian countryside, known as scree.

Researchers accompanied hunter Einar Ambakk, who found the sword, back to the site with a metal detector, but were unable to find any other artifacts nearby.
Researchers accompanied hunter Einar Ambakk, who found the sword, back to the site with a metal detector, but were unable to find any other artifacts nearby.

Though the blade was rusted, and any organic material that was attached to it like leather straps or bone and wood adornments had rotted away years ago, it was remarkably well preserved. The extreme cold and low pressure may have prevented further rusting or degradation from occurring.

The Viking sword.

He then posted a picture of this sword on social media, which spurred researchers to further investigate the sword, as well as the site of the find. Researchers were able to determine that the sword dates back to 850-950 AD, and was likely owned by a Viking swordsman.

Researchers also returned to the scree-covered mountains with the reindeer hunters, a local metal detectorist and a local archaeologist. This team investigated the site, but were unable to find any further artifacts.

However, they were able to determine that the blade had not been covered by any permafrost or had been buried under the rocks. Rather, they realized that the sword must have been simply left on the surface of the mountain thousands of years ago.

Why the Viking was traveling in this desolate countryside, and how the sword, an incredibly valuable tool, and commodity at the time, came to be left there, we will never know, but researchers theorize that it may have been left there after a Viking got lost during a particularly horrible blizzard.

Though we’ll never know exactly what happened, this sword provides us with a glimpse into the past, capturing a moment when a sword was abandoned on a barren hill over a thousand years ago.