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cOld Ice: A Survey and Monitoring Programme of High-Alpine Cultural Heritage in the Central Alps, Switzerland


Journal of Glacial Archaeology

Equinox Publishing


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Twenty years have passed since the Iceman’s discovery and the archaeological consequences of the rapid melting of the alpine glaciers have become well known. However, hardly any methodological procedures for glacial archaeology have been developed in Central Europe. In 2011, at the Dept. for Prehistory at the University of Zurich a project was founded with the aim to map ice patches with high archaeological potential throughout the Canton of Grisons/Switzerland. These valuable archaeological archives are to be studied before their eminent disappearance in order to answer questions regarding (pre)historic alpine land use, concentrating on communication routes, hunting, pastoral activities, trade and war. To be able to evaluate the ice patches a set of criteria influencing the probability of the presence of finds and the quality of their conservation was compiled. Analysis and visualizations based on aerial photography, landscapes models, glacial and cultural history, historical maps as well as calculations were made using ArcGIS. The resulting predictive model has been tested and continuously adapted during the late summer of 2011 and 2012 through systematic surveying. Such a model will become the basis of a monitoring programme from 2013 onwards.

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Most cited references 12

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Multicentury glacier fluctuations in the Swiss Alps during the Holocene

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Multidisciplinary Investigations of Alpine Ice Patches in Southwest Yukon, Canada: Paleoenvironmental and Paleobiological Investigations

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Combining glaciological and archaeological methods for gauging glacial archaeological potential

Author and article information

Journal of Glacial Archaeology
Equinox Publishing
May 31 2016
December 14 2015
: 2
: 0
: 25-34
© 2016


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