Melting ice in Norway revealed a 4,000-year-old arrow that was likely lost while ancient hunters targeted reindeer — but is now a 'bull's eye for archaeology'

A field photo of the Stone Age arrow found in Norway.
A field photo of the Stone Age arrow found in Norway.Secrets of the Ice
  • Archeologists just found an arrow from the Stone Ages previously caught in ice.

  • The discovery predates other findings in the area by over 2,000 years.

  • It was likely lodged in the ice while ancient hunters chased reindeer.

Archeologists in Norway were thrilled when they discovered a rare find in late August — a 4,000 year-old arrow from the Stone Age, previously frozen in ice.

Archeologists from the group Secrets of the Ice — part of Norway's Department of Cultural Heritage — found the arrow on the side of Mount Lauvhøe, co-director Dr. Lars Holger Pilø told Insider.

Lauvhøe is part of the Jotunheimen Mountains in Norway. In recent years, the ice around the mountain has melted more, exposing more ground to researchers. Pilø said the archeologists were last at the site in 2017 when there was less area to survey.

Before this most recent arrow was found, Pilø said, the oldest arrows found in the ice dated from 500 to 1,700 years ago, during the Iron Age and the Middle Ages.

"This new find adds a lot more time depth to the site," said Pilø in an email. "The site of Lauvhøe is one out of 66 such ice sites in our county alone. We currently have more than 4,000 finds from the ice."

According to NPR, the archeologists originally thought the arrow was from the Iron Age, but discovered it was much older after cleaning off the glacial silt.

Likely, Pilø said, the arrow ended up in the ice while hunters were pursuing reindeer, which gathered near ice and snow on hot days to avoid botflies.

"The ancient hunters knew this and would have hunted the reindeer en route to and on the ice patch," said Pilø in an email. "Sometimes, when an arrow missed its target, it burrowed itself deep into the snow and was lost. Sad for the hunter but a bull's eye for archaeology!"

Moving forward, archeologists will continue their search in the area, which remains fruitful.

"We have just found a horse bit and bridle, possibly from the Viking Age," Pilø said.

Read the original article on Insider