In the mountains of Jotunheim in Norway, at an altitude of about 1800 meters, the Landbrin Glacier, which has accumulated its mass for many centuries, has been melting over the past two decades. And it is this place, concealing a whole treasury of artifacts, that has become a cornucopia for archaeologists. The geographical position of the glacier and all the finds indicate that about a thousand years ago, the local mountain pass was a Viking road, along which there was intensive trade. It was in demand until the Black Plague that swept Europe in the 14th century destroyed trade alliances and ties.
Over the past years, artifacts of the 4th-16th centuries AD have been discovered on the stony-ice area, which occupied 35 football fields. The ice sheet retains any organic material that would otherwise be lost by weathering. Here they find items of leather, bones, wood and wool in excellent condition. Archaeologists have found footwear, mittens, and clothing (even a whole woolen tunic from the third century AD); wooden chest; sleigh; a duster, which could well serve as a peg for a tent-tent; small knife; old horseshoes.
It was the presence of horseshoes that suggested that this is nothing more than an ancient road. Also here were discovered cairns made of stones - travel signs for travelers. “It is now clear that Landbreen was a regional transport artery from the Roman Iron Age (1-400) to the end of the Middle Ages (1050-1537), ” archaeologists working here say.
In 2019, the last archaeological season at this pass ended. But there is still a lot of work ahead, including the study and description of the finds already collected. Meanwhile, the team is already making plans for which pass to go next season. For example, immediately after the completion of work on Landbrin in 2019, a pass to the west of the ridge began to open up from under the ice.