Explorers Uncover Long Lost Artifacts From Melting Glaciers in Yukon Territory

by Megan Molseed
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(Getty Images/David Merron)

Long lost artifacts tracing back to as many as thousands of years ago are being uncovered within the Earth’s glaciers. The artifacts which have long been locked in the ice are now revealing themselves as the glaciers continue to recede.

All of this, experts explain, is due to climate change. The changes are happening so fast, in fact, that a recent study by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) notes that at the rate the glaciers’ ice is disappearing, many of them could be long gone by 2050.

Explorers Are Discovering Pieces Of History That Have Long Been Locked Away In Ice

The world’s glaciers are constantly changing and moving under the weight they create. Glaciers are vital to many ecosystems across the planet. Some are also beloved landmarks.

Most recently, experts uncovered objects locked within the Walsh Glacier in Kluane National Park and Reserve in Canada’s Yukon Territory. These items were uncovered by professional mountain explorer Griffin Post. Post was traveling along with Teton Gravity Research and glaciologist Dorota Medrzycka. The duo discovered a camera cache, some mountaineering gear, and tents. This gear is connected to mountaineers Bradford Washburn and Robert Bates. Bradford and Bates left the equipment when exploring the area in 1937.

Additionally, a team of scientists discovered more than 2,000 artifacts that were once locked inside the ice during a 2018 mission to the mountains of Oppland Norway. Among these artifacts are Iron Age and Bronze Age weapons. In 1991, explorers discovered a mummy locked within a glacier near the Austrian-Italian border. This mummy is estimated to be at least 5,300 years old.

There Are Many Other Artifacts Waiting To Be Uncovered From Within The Glaciers

Griffin Post notes that there are likely many other artifacts that are hiding within the icy bodies that are about to be exposed as the melting continues. Post does add, however, that it’s not clear exactly how much of a role climate change has made in uncovering the artifacts it has certainly “made [their] job easier.”

“I think particularly in the Alps, for instance,” Post explains.

“Where people have been traveling on glaciers for significantly longer than parts of North America,” he adds. “We’re starting to see more evidence of different objects and artifacts melting out.”

Post adds that he believes there will definitely be more artifacts “melting out from excess.” Over the years. Many of these, the expert notes will be abandoned equipment from expeditions that took place in the 1930s.

“I definitely think there will be more artifacts melting out from excess what expeditions have abandoned in the past,” he explains. And hopefully, there’s enough of a historical record to see where those artifacts started their journey and where they ended up.

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