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The race to find, and save, ancient artifacts emerging from glaciers and ice patches in a warming world
By ANDREW CURRY
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.
â€œThe 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. Itâ€™s an effort that combines archaeology with high-tech?mapping, glaciology, climate science, and history. When conditions are?right, itâ€™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.?â€™The next 50 years will be decisive,â€™ says Albert Hafner, an?archaeologist at the University of Bern who has excavated melting?sites in the Alps. â€˜If you donâ€™t do it now they will be lost.â€™â€
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