Neolithic arrows melt out of high mountain snowfields

(29.08.2013) Climate change is melting high-mountain snowpacks and glaciers the world over. NTNU archaeologist Martin Callanan has published a paper in Antiquities where he describes five Neolithic arrowshafts and a Neolithic longbow that were discovered in 2010–11 in the Oppdal area.

Callanan told Melissa Hogenboom, a BBC science reporter that "the number and antiquity of some of these artefacts is unprecedented in the almost century-long history of snow patch surveying in the region."

But, he added, "as the climate continues to heat up and the snows melt away, one wonders what long-term price there will be to pay for these glimpses of the frozen past."

Callanan says that finding these ancient bows and arrows helps archaeologists to better understand ancient hunting techiques, and perhas what might have attracted hunters to the area where the bows were found. However, he said, as climate change accelerates snowpack melting, there is a new urgency to "discovering and recovering these fragile perishable artefacts."

Read the BBC's news story on the finds.