The Big Melt: Saving Archeological Treasures Exposed by Melting Glaciers

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The race to find, and save, ancient artifacts emerging from glaciers and ice patches in a warming world


Archaeologists in Norway space themselves out to walk along ground newly exposed by the melting edges of an ice patch. Eyes firmly on the ground, they are on the lookout for artifacts that have spent thousands of years locked in ice.

“The fortuitous discovery of the Bronze Age shoe helped the local?heritage management office push for an organized rescue program to?locate, assess, and search dozens of sites in the mountains of?Oppland. It’s an effort that combines archaeology with high-tech?mapping, glaciology, climate science, and history. When conditions are?right, it’s as simple as picking the past up off the ground. [..]

In Scandinavia and beyond, the booming field of glacier and ice patch?archaeology represents both an opportunity and a crisis. On one hand,?it exposes artifacts and sites that have been preserved in ice for?millennia, offering archaeologists a chance to study them. On the?other hand, from the moment the ice at such sites melts, the pressure?to find, document, and conserve the exposed artifacts is tremendous.?’The next 50 years will be decisive,’ says Albert Hafner, an?archaeologist at the University of Bern who has excavated melting?sites in the Alps. ‘If you don’t do it now they will be lost.’”

Find the full article here.


Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Powered by WPeMatico

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.