Accepted paper:

Archaeology of the Cryosphere in the Anthropocene: The Norwegian Case


Brit Solli (University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

Due to global climate change there is a worldwide melting of our planet’s Cryosphere. During the last decade over 2000 artefacts have been coming out of the ice in the mountains of Norway. This archaeological dataset can be correlated with geological data, creating new knowledge on past climate change.

Paper long abstract:

Due to global climate change there is a worldwide melting of our planet's Cryosphere, e.g. glaciers, ice- and snow-patches. Artefacts and ecofacts are coming out of the ice in North-America, the European Alps and in the high alpine mountains of Norway. In 2006 there was a dramatic ablation of ice-and snowpatches. The ablation has continued, and during the last decade archaeological artefacts like shafted arrowheads, remains of "scare-sticks", organized in lines to direct the movement of reindeers, and other organic material associated with ancient hunting strategies have been recovered on the sites of ablated ice-and snowpatches. Hitherto (October 2015) over 2000 artefacts have been registered by Oppland County and the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo. This material, correlated with geological data, constitutes a unique data set to study both climate change and human long term exploitation of alpine resources in Norway. Organic material dated to e.g. AD 500 like shafts and "scare-sticks" melting out of the ice, are well preserved, and this indicates that the ice- and snow patches have been stable and on the spot for 1500 years. The archaeological material will also constitute a new basis for the study of Iron Age and Middle Age subsistence economy, e.g. hunting and trapping techniques, resource exploitation, exchange and consumption.

panel P46
Past weather, past climate - archaeology as Environmental Humanity