Melting Norwegian glacier releases 500-year-old Viking treasures
Tech – Metro

The wooden box was found containing beeswax candles used by Viking farmers (Picture: Secrets Of The Ice)

A perfectly preserved ancient box of Viking treasures has been discovered after a Norwegian glacier partially melted.

The 500-year-old wooden box was found containing remains of beeswax candles, which the Vikings would have used to find their farms, according to archaeologists.

The long candles, which would have been used to help Vikings locate their summer farm from their main farm, were found in a pine box with leather straps, encased in the Lendbreen ice patch in northern Norway.

Archaeologists have previously found Viking treasures in the Lendbreen ice patch, after discovering a hoard of artefacts in 2011, such as spears and armour.

The Lendbreen Glacier is located towards the north of the country.

The team thought the box of candles was a tinderbox at first, but an analysis of the materials through radiocarbon dating showed it was from between AD 1475-1635, according to the Secrets of the Ice team that discovered the box.

‘The content of the box was analyzed at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo: We were in for a big surprise – the content is beeswax!’ the team said in a statement.

Spears were found in the Lendbreen glacier in 2011 (Picture: Secrets Of The Ice)

‘What we are seeing inside the box is very likely the remains of a beeswax candle.’

Boxes for candles were a common item for Viking families, used to house expensive beeswax candles that Vikings made for their travels to different farms.

Candles aren’t the only treasure found in melting glaciers – last November, teams found 70 arrow shafts, as well as shoes, textiles and reindeer bones in a mountain in Jotunheimen, around 240 miles from Oslo.

Some of the arrows were from around 4100 BC, the oldest of the 6,000 artefacts that have been found in the area.

The Lendbreen ice patch was used as an ancient passageway by Vikings for thousands of years, with forgotten treasure scattered throughout the ice.

Researchers are in a race against time to unearth the treasures – as the ice melts, the condition of the ancient items will deteriorate from the warmer temperatures.

‘It is a very short window in time. In 20 years, these finds will be gone and these ice patches will be gone,’ archaeologist Regula Gubler told AFP.

‘It is a bit stressful.’

Materials like leather, wood, birch bark and textiles, which have thus far been preserved by the ice, can be destroyed by erosion once they’re defrosted.

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