Between around 200 and 1500 AD, there was a path across a Norwegian ridge at a place called Lendbreen. It was marked by cairns like the one above.
Then the route was abandoned, perhaps because of the cooling associated with the Little Age, but perhaps because trade shifted to some other place.
For the past twenty years a patch of ice in the pass has been melting, and archaeologists have been going up every summer to search for artifacts emerging from cold storage.
The most spectacular find was this linen shirt, recovered in 2011 and since then minutely studied. It dates to around 300 AD. (video here
But there have been hundreds of other items. Like this distaff.
A horse snowshoe
A whisk (held upside-down)
A hide shoe
A bit. The humbling thing about all of this for an archaeologist is that hardly anything found in the pass was made of stone or ceramic, and very little was metal. What survives in the ground on the average archaeological site is such a tiny fragment of what people once owned and used.
The humbling thing about all of this for an archaeologist is that hardly anything found in the pass was made of stone or ceramic, and very little was metal. What survives in the ground on the average archaeological site is such a tiny fragment of what people once owned and used.
Consider our own modern lives - what fills your own home that might last hundreds or thousands of years?
Our clothes are still mostly plant textiles or plastic. Our furniture is mostly wood or plastic. Our books are mostly paperback, and even many hardbacks are made with non-durable materials. We keep things tidy in our closets or garages by putting them in lightweight boxes made of cardboard, wood, plastic, et cetera. Many kitchen utensils are wood or plastic. Our trash cans were once metal, but we revolutionized them with plastic. Our suitcases and luggage were once heavy leather and wood, but now are mostly lightweight plastic.
Most of the things that will survive from our own time are the same kinds of things we dig up from the past - metal tools used for cooking / gardening / agriculture / et cetera; metal or ceramic storage / food preservation canisters; metal plumbing and ceramic wash basins / chamberpots; metal vehicle / machinery components; metal fasteners / nails / et cetera; metal and stone building materials / structural components; metal weapon components; and so on.
Bah - forgot to format that top paragraph to indicate quotation.
I saw this mentioned somewhere else, and I was keen to see a picture of the tunic. Thanks so much for posting it, it's fantastic! Some of the things I love best in archaeology are when textiles (and their imprints and remnants) show up. A soft spot for soft goods...
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