Earlier this year, Antiquity published an article about an ancient mountain pass uncovered on Lendbreen, a melting ice patch in the central mountain range of the Loomseggen Ridge in Norway. This retreating ice patch exposed lichen-free areas of bedrock where artifacts have been found simply lying on the bare ground. The dated artifacts indicate that the mountain pass was used from around AD 300-1500, but that its usage increased around AD 1000 during the Viking Age. This was a time of elevated travel, trade, and urbanization in Northern Europe.
The findings on Lendbreen are varied and contain numerous types of transportation-related items including the remains of sleds, walking sticks, horse-snowshoes, and horse bones. They also contain many everyday items, including a woven tunic and a mitten, textile rags, and a collection of shoes made from hide. Most notably, archaeologists found ruins of a stone shelter near the top of the ice patch, indicating that this was a significant travel route.
Melting glaciers have been a boon for high-elevation archaeology, because artifacts have been well preserved in the ice.