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Race For Artifacts In Melting Glaciers

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glacier

You may have heard the speculation that the glaciers are melting.

Swiss scientists believe that it’s only decades away until the areas that have been covered in ice such as the Swiss Alps and around the world will just melt.

Already, the areas that have melted have produced a number of ancient artifacts such as hunting tools, goat skin clothing, shoes and even the famous old ruins of Otzi the iceman.

OetzitheIceman02Otzi the iceman was discovered by German tourists in the Alps back in 1991 and at first, he was thought to be the frozen corpse of a soldier who died during World War I. After tests were completed, it was confirmed the iceman dated back to 3,300 BC!

He is Europe’s oldest natural human mummy and, remarkably, some of his body’s blood cells were still intact, just like a modern day sample of blood. His body was actually so well-preserved that scientists were able to determine how he died, (a blow to the head), and that his last meal was red deer and a herb bread, eaten with wheat bran, roots and some fruit.

Now, the Swiss have turned up efforts to recover artifacts as fast as they believe the glaciers are melting.

The Swiss cultural institute has now been encouraging alpine hikers to keep a look out for relics uncovered by melting glaciers and to turn over any items found in the Swiss National Park.

Is this an opportunity? Or a crisis?

In archaeological terms, it exposes artifacts and areas that have been preserved in ice for millennia, giving us new insights and information about our ancient past.

But then, there is the pressure. The minute the ice melts, to find, document, and conserve the exposed artifacts is a huge task.

The Swiss cultural institute that is sponsoring the artifact retrieval project through the end of next year states that it will catalogue discoveries so that archaeologists can investigate them further, but for now, they feel let’s explore…ASAP.
 

Photo credit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi

References:
http://www.swissworld.org/en/environment/climate_change/melting_glaciers/
http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/melting-glaciers-in-swiss-alps-reveal-ancient-artifacts/

 



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