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A 1,300-year-old wooden ski found in Norwegian ice

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High in the mountains on the Digervarden Ice patch in Norway, a pair of wooden skis were lost… 1,300 years ago. Who wore them? What was their life like? And what would they think of archaeologists finding their skis with the help of GPS and digital photos?

The Secrets Of The Ice video above documents the extraction of the second ski in “ice layers previously untouched by melting.”

“The new ski is of the same type as the first ski found here. It is broad, with a raised foothold and with the binding still preserved, just like the one found in 2014. The new ski is 187 cm long and 17 cm wide. This is 17 cm longer and 2 cm wider than the first ski found here. The preservation of the new ski is much better, probably because it was 4-5 m further into the ice…

“The skis are handmade, not mass-produced. They have a long and individual history of wear and repair before an Iron Age skier used them together and they ended up in the ice 1300 years ago.”

The extracted ski

“Prehistoric skis with preserved bindings are exceedingly rare. In fact, when the first ski appeared in 2014, it was just the second such ski in the world. The only other example of a ski with a preserved binding is a single ski from Mänttä in Finland, which is slightly older than the one from Digervarden.”

The bindings

“Did a hunter leave behind the skis? Maybe a sudden snowfall could have buried them beyond recovery? …Another possibility is that there was an accident. Maybe the skier fell and destroyed the toe bindings in the fall? …Perhaps there was an accident that left the Iron Age skier dead or seriously injured? Is the skier still inside the ice at Mount Digervarden? …What we can say for sure is that we have not seen the last finds from the Digervarden ice patch. We will be back.”

the team
Related reading: A Brief History of Skis.

Archaeological discoveries from ancient history are increasing because climate change is melting mountain and alpine ice and glaciers. Watch this video next: How to Save Our Frozen Worlds: Clean Energy.

Plus watch these related archaeology videos:
• What’s In a 20,000 Year-Old Cube of Ice?
• The 40,000-year-old Lion Man of the Hohlenstein-Stadel
• A kid discovers a 32-million-year-old fossilized nimravid skull

via Kottke.

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