Viking Age Horse Bridle Found Under The Ice 2,000 Meters Above Sea Level

Viking Age Horse Bridle Found Under The Ice 2,000 Meters Above Sea Level

Viking Age Horse Bridle Found Under The Ice 2,000 Meters Above Sea Level

Glacial archaeologists working in Norway have once again discovered fascinating ancient artifacts under the ice. Near a mountain pass, not far from Norway’s highest mountain, Galdhøpiggen, archaeologists have found traces of horse travel.

Galdhøpiggen is the tallest mountain in Norway.

A metal bit and parts of the leather straps that fasten around the horse’s head have emerged from under the ice.

“The bridle has a shape that suggests it could be from the Viking Age,” Espen Finstad, a glacial archaeologist at Innlandet County Municipality told Science In Norway.

Viking Age People And Horses Crossed The Tall Norwegian Mountain

Galdhøpiggen is the highest mountain in Norway, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe. The 2,469-metre-tall (8,100 ft) mountain is located in Lom Municipality, and the Jotunheimen Mountains within Jotunheimen National Park. The view from the top is spectacular and Galdhøpiggen is today a popular tourist attraction, but one has to be careful and have good knowledge of climbing to get to the top.

Based on earlier excavations, scientists have been able to determine the traffic through a mountain pass on Lomseggen was at its peak during the Viking Age.

Snow and ice melting in the area have previously exposed hundreds of ancient artifacts in the region, revealing that Norwegians used this mountain pass for more than 1,200 years.

An ancient brindle offers evidence horses crossed the area.

However, as reported by Science in Norway, “the bridle that archaeologists have found this year suggests that it wasn’t just people who walked here.

Horses have also been part of the journey, almost 2,000 meters above sea level.

“We have never made such a discovery before. It essentially completes the picture that this is an ancient travel route,” Finstad says.

Carbon-14 Dating Will Reveal The Age Of The Bridle

The strap, or halter, which is attached to the bit, is especially exciting for the archaeologists.

It actually makes it possible to date the horse bridle.

Through carbon-14 dating, the archaeologists will find out if the find really is from the Viking Age.

The archaeologists also found part of an old horseshoe that had been lying under the ice.

Finstad estimates it will take a few months to get the final answer, but they are fairly certain that it originates from the Iron Age or the early Middle Ages.

Horse Manure And Horseshoes

The horse bridle is just one of the discoveries archaeologists have made on this year’s expedition.

They also found horse manure, textiles, horseshoes, leaf fodder, part of a horse snowshoe, a knife, and a variety of small wooden objects. Altogether, around 150 items.

Even though the mountain pass is like a gold mine for archaeologists, the finds are extremely rare in the grand scheme of things, Finnes points out.

The most special thing is that organic materials like wood, leather, textiles, and faeces have been preserved.

The ice has functioned as a freezer for hundreds of years. But now it’s melting.

“The fact that the ice is now melting due to man-made climate change is tragic. The paradox is that new and exciting knowledge about our common past is emerging,” Finnes says.

A remarkable ancient world is hidden beneath the ice, and now we are slowly learning more about it.