1,500-year-old pre-Viking arrow is found in an ‘awesome’ state of preservation – as rapidly melting ice reveals contents of Norway’s ‘treasure glaciers’

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  • The arrow was uncovered in a patch of melted ice in the Jotunheimen Mountains of Norway
  • It dates to the sixth century AD, pre-dating the Vikings by two hundred years.
  • Searchers also found a second arrow that is not as old or well preserved

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Norwegian explorers have found an arrowhead dating back to 1500 years from the age of the Vikings, which was discarded after being exposed by melting ice.

On August 17, the ‘wonderful’ arrow was found in a patch of melted ice in the Jotunheimen Mountains of Norway in Inlandet county.

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It has a shaft made of pine and an intact iron arrowhead, although the fletching – a feather-shaped arrangement of feathers at the end – no longer exists.

The explorers said it is generally in a ‘terrible’ state of preservation, as the ice essentially served as a ‘prehistoric deep freezer’.

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Climate change and the resulting melting ice are turning Norway’s ice patches into ‘treasure glaciers’, exposing many objects from the distant past.

Archaeologist May-Tove Smyseth holds an arrow found on August 17, which is in ‘terrible’ state of conservation

It dates to about the 6th century AD – a few hundred years before the Viking Age

It dates to about the 6th century AD – a few hundred years before the Viking Age

A 1,500-year-old arrow was found on August 17 in a patch of melted ice in the Jotunheimen mountains of Norway in Inlandet county.

A 1,500-year-old arrow was found on August 17 in a patch of melted ice in the Jotunheimen mountains of Norway in Inlandet county.

The arrow dates back to around the 6th century AD – a few hundred years before the Viking Age.

The researchers also found a second arrow at the same site that is not as old – possibly from the 9th century AD – although it is slightly less well preserved.

Both were found on Mount Jotunheimen by ice mystery experts, part of the Glacier Archeology Program at Inlandet County Council’s Department of Cultural Heritage.

two arrows

arrow 1

Found: August 17th, 2022

Era: 6th century AD (Pre-Viking)

arrow 2

Found: August 19, 2022

Era: 9th century (Viking)

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“The first arrowheads were found last Wednesday during a systematic survey of newly exposed ground near a retreating ice patch (a non-moving glacier),” Dr Lars Pillow, a co-founder of Secrets of the Ice, told MailOnline.

‘The arrow can be dated on the basis of the shape of the arrow, as this type of arrowhead is known from well-dated archaeological references in the Terai.

‘The same goes for arrowshafts, where the type is known to be found in swamps in Denmark.

‘This can be quite confusing so see how well the ice artifacts are preserved, as they do not look old. Ice serves as a prehistoric deep freezer.

‘In a way items don’t age, and they generally don’t require much preservation, mostly a light clean.’

The first arrows lay among the scree – an accumulation of loose stones or rocky debris at the base of a rock.

It was found near the bottom edge of the ice, but was likely lost in the snow on the slopes 1500 years ago.

The first arrow was probably exposed some time after it was lost in the snow, as the fletching is gone and the sine and tar – used for fastening the arrow head to the shaft – are not fully preserved.

The first arrow was probably exposed some time after it was lost in the snow, as the fletching is gone and the sine and tar – used for fastening the arrow head to the shaft – are not fully preserved.

It lay among scree - an accumulation of loose stones or rocky debris at the base of a rock

It lay among scree – an accumulation of loose stones or rocky debris at the base of a rock

When the ice later melted, the arrow was carried downstream by the meltwater, and ended up on the ground where it was found the previous week, the mystery of the ice explained in a twitter thread,

It was exposed several times after being lost in the snow, as the fletching is gone and the sine and tar used to fasten the arrow heads to the shaft are not fully preserved. But overall the protection of Arrow is ‘excellent’.

There are also remnants of tar that used to stick the fletching to the shaft of the arrow and ‘Thick’ tip – Notch for engaging the bowstring in the finned end.

Pictured is the thickened 'knock' - of the first arrow - the notch for engaging the bow in the wing end -

Pictured is the thickened ‘knock’ – of the first arrow – the notch for engaging the bow in the wing end –

Dr Pillow said the site where the arrow was found is a reindeer hunting site at an altitude of more than 6,500 feet (2,000 metres).

Deer move on snow and ice on hot days to avoid botflies, which can lay their eggs in the flesh of mammals.

“Ancient hunters knew this and hunted them on the ice,” Dr Pillow told MailOnline.

‘When hunters missed their target, the arrow could disappear in the snow and get lost.’

Meanwhile, the second arrowhead is slightly less well preserved, with the arrow barely attached to the shaft, although there is still a small piece of fletching attached.

Researchers also found a second arrow at the same site that is not as old – possibly from the 9th century AD – although it is slightly less well preserved (pictured)

Researchers also found a second arrow at the same site that is not as old – possibly from the 9th century AD – although it is slightly less well preserved (pictured)

The second arrow is surrounded by birch bark, closer to the arrowhead, which originally helped secure the arrow to the shaft—something that only the Vikings did.

It is less well preserved than the first arrowhead because it was open for a longer period.

It was found in the same place in the Jotunheimen Mountains, between the rocks in the cliffs.

Other objects have been found on Mount Jotunheimen this year, Dr. Pillow said, including animal bones and horns, and Remnants of scare sticks – thin sticks with a movable object attached to the top, believed to have been used for reindeer hunting.

The Viking Age lasted around 700-1110 AD

The Viking Age in European history was from about 700 to 1100 AD.

During this period many Vikings left their homes in Scandinavia and traveled by long boat to other countries such as Britain and Ireland.

When Britons first saw the Viking longboats, they came ashore to welcome them.

However, the Vikings fought with the locals, stealing from churches and burning buildings to the ground.

The Britons called the invaders ‘Dans’, but they came from Norway and Sweden as well as Denmark.

The name ‘Viking’ comes from a language…

Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk /

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