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      Fragments of a Late Iron Age Sledge Melted Out of the Vossaskavlen Snowdrift Glacier in Western Norway

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          Abstract

          In 2014 some processed fragments of wood were recovered from the snow and ice of the Vossakavlen snowdrift glacier in western Norway. The find was interpreted as the remains of a sledge left or broken at the glacier. Radiocarbon dating has established that the sledge was made in the period from 545 – 655 AD, which corresponds locally to the beginning of the Late Iron Age. Few finds of prehistoric sledges are recorded in Norwegian archives, and all of them are younger than the Vossaskavl-sledge.

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          Melting snow patches reveal Neolithic archery

          High altitude snowfields provide repositories of well-preserved organic remains of considerable antiquity, as spectacular discoveries such as the Similaun Iceman illustrate. In Scandinavia, melting snow patches have been systematically surveyed by volunteer groups for almost a century, and a growing collection of archaeological artefacts has been recovered. Only recently, however, has AMS dating confirmed that some of the finds go back as far as the Neolithic. Here fragments of five Neolithic arrowshafts and a Neolithic longbow discovered in 2010–11 in the Oppdal area of Norway are described. They throw light on Neolithic bow and arrow technology and tangentially on the hunting techniques which may have attracted hunters to these snow patches in search of game. The progressive and accelerated melting of the snow patches in recent years draws attention to processes of climate change and the urgency of discovering and recovering these fragile perishable artefacts.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Journal of Glacial Archaeology
            JGA
            Equinox Publishing
            2050-3393
            2050-3407
            May 31 2016
            February 2 2016
            : 2
            : 0
            : 73-81
            10.1558/jga.v2i1.27719
            © 2016

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