Ancient origins

Curious Mussel Shell Arrowheads in Norway’s Mountains Confound Archaeologists

It’s not the primary time archaeologists in Norway have found historical arrows melting out of mountainsides. However it’s the first time arrows comprised of mussel shells have been discovered.

One other Treasure Melting from the Ice

Jotunheimen (residence of the giants) is a mountainous area located in central Norway that boasts of a wealthy archaeological historical past relationship again to the Stone Age . Over the centuries, the area has been residence to varied tribes and communities who all left settlements, burial websites, and artifacts that present important insights into the folks’s Nordic life .

One of the crucial outstanding archaeological finds in Jotunheimen is the Lendbreen glacier, which has been melting, and exposing a treasure trove of historical instruments and weapons. Nonetheless, archaeologists in Jotunheimen had been stunned to seek out three “distinctive” arrowheads made from freshwater pearl mussels that melted out of the ice within the mountains.

A Distinctive Discovery In World Archaeology

Professor Lars Pilø, an archaeologist in Innlandet County Municipality , described the discover as “breaking information.” He mentioned the “distinctive arrowheads” had been crafted from mussel shells, representing a know-how that was “fully unknown in Norway earlier than the melting began, and so they haven’t been discovered anyplace else on the planet.”

Based on a report in Science Norway , the shell weapons date again to the Early Bronze Age, round 3,700 to three,500 years in the past. Curiously, nevertheless, the arrowheads had been solely in use for a few hundred years.

Pilø mentioned “People on the time did have entry to stone which can be utilized to make arrowheads, and so they additionally used bone and antlers.” Nonetheless, no person is kind of certain why the know-how was developed and deserted in such a brief time period.

A Large Freezer Holding Historical Natural Parts

When a number of hundreds of years outdated ice melts, archaeologists in Norway discover extremely well-preserved searching weapons and survival instruments. Among the objects embrace clothes, textiles, instruments, and searching gear corresponding to arrows and bows. The objects have been found as a part of the Secrets of the Ice program, which research the artifacts and different finds that emerge from melting glaciers and ice patches within the Norwegian mountains.

The projectile finish of an Iron Age arrow beforehand discovered lodged between stones on the decrease edges of Norway’s Langfonne ice path. ( Secrets of the Ice )

On this occasion, the staff found the three shell arrowheads in a comparatively small space. They famous that the freshwater pearl mussels in all probability didn’t exist within the areas the place the arrowheads had been discovered, “so hunters will need to have introduced them up within the mountains.”

Archaeologist Christopher Prescott on the College of Oslo said “the frozen circumstances have trapped “natural parts” from the Stone Age. Prescott mentioned he has himself discovered artifacts comprised of mom of pearl which had been about 4,000 years outdated, however that is “the primary time that such arrowheads comprised of shells have been discovered”.

Reverse Engineering Historical Tech

How precisely historical hunters created and used mussel shell arrow heads will solely grow to be clear after a number of years of experimental archaeology. Nonetheless, speculating, Pilø says, “For the hunter, this was about needing the arrowhead to penetrate the animal and create a correct wound. I might think about that sharp mussels are fairly nicely suited to take action”.

In conclusion, the invention of distinctive arrowheads made from freshwater pearl mussels within the Norwegian mountains will create numerous work for archaeologists. Not solely will the researchers attempt to determine why these arrowheads had been used for under a short while interval, however they are going to try and reply why they have not been discovered anyplace else on the planet. Experimental archaeology may at some point reply “why” the hunters selected to make use of shells, as an alternative of stone and bone like most different hunters around the globe. However it can in all probability by no means be identified if this explicit sort of shell was imbued with some type of magical or religious significance.

High picture: The mussel shell arrowheads have been discovered along with shafts and lashings. The size within the decrease fringe of the picture is millimeters.             Supply: Cultural History Museum

By Ashley Cowie

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