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Global warning = more amazing archaeological finds

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Global warming, climate change brought upon the earth by excessive carbon emissions from mankind are usually seen as a negative. There are worries about changes in the ecology, with droughts, floods and other issues. The one good thing that can be said about global warming is that a lot of things about humanity's past are being found with the advent of the melting ice and tundra.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One of the most recent discoveries has been a pre-Viking woolen tunic found beside a thawing glacier in south Norway. This shows how global warming is proving something of a boon for archaeology.

Researchers say that the greenish-brown, loose-fitting outer clothing is suitable for a person up to about five feet, nine inches tall. The garment was found 6,560 feet above sea level on what may have been a Roman-era trade route in south Norway. Carbon dating showed it was made around 300 A.D.

"It's worrying that glaciers are melting but it's exciting for us archaeologists," Danish archaeologist Lars Piloe said at the first public showing of the tunic. The item has been studied since it was found in 2011.

Other treasures discovered have been a Viking mitten dating from 800 A.D. and an ornate walking stick, a Bronze Age leather shoe, ancient bows, and arrow heads used to hunt reindeer are also among 1,600 finds in Norway's southern mountains since thaws accelerated in 2006.

"This is only the start," Piloe says. He predicts many more finds.

An ancient wooden arrow had a tiny shard from a seashell as a sharp tip in an intricate bit of craftsmanship.

The discovery of Otzi in 1991, a prehistoric man who roamed the Alps 5,300 years ago between Austria and Italy, is the best known glacier find. Other finds have been made from Alaska to the Andes, many because glaciers are receding.

The shrinkage is blamed on climate change, stoked by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.

The tunic find proves that Norway's Lendbreen glacier had not been so small since 300 A.D. When exposed to air, untreated ancient fabrics can disintegrate in weeks because of insect and bacteria attacks.

"The tunic was well used - it was repaired several times," said Marianne Vedeler, a conservation expert at Norway's Museum of Cultural History. Only a handful of similar tunics have survived so long in Europe.

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