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Photos: Ancient Arrows from Reindeer Hunters Found in Norway

Ancient findings

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: secretsoftheice.com/Oppland County Council)

As climate change melts the ice patches of Norway, artifacts from the past 6,000 years are being exposed. From 2006 to 2015, archaeologists collected more than 2,000 of these artifacts — mostly iron-tipped arrows from reindeer hunters — and dated 153 of them using radiocarbon dating.

In a new study, these dated artifacts have informed archaeologists about the number of people who came to Norway's mountainous regions in the past, and how these people hunted the reindeer there. In this photo, an archaeologist holds a roughly 1,400-year-old arrow found in the high mountains of Oppland, Norway. Hunters used this arrow during the Late Antique Little Ice Age. [Read more about the ancient reindeer hunters]

Mountain reindeer

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: Espen Finstad, secretsoftheice.com/Oppland County Council)

When the weather is warm, reindeer gather on the ice and snow to avoid parasitic insects. Ancient hunters knew this and often hunted reindeer on the ice using bows and arrows.

Bronze Age shoe

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: Vegard Vike, Museum of Cultural history/University of Oslo)

A shoe dating to 1300 B.C., one of the earliest discoveries from the ice in Oppland County.

Iron Age arrow

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: J. H. Barrett)

An Iron Age arrow from the Norwegian mountain Trollsteinhøe.

Arrow vanes

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: J. H. Barrett)

Arrow fletching from the Lendbreen ice patch: This fletching, or vanes, helped give the arrow stability as it flew through the air.

Systematic survey

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: Johan Wildhagen, Palookaville)

The archaeologists surveyed the mountains systematically.

Walking stick

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: Vegard Vike, Museum of Cultural History/University of Oslo)

A close-up photo of a runic inscription on a walking stick that was dated to the 11th century A.D.

Old tunic

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: Mårten Teigen, Museum of Cultural History/University of Oslo)

The melting ice revealed this tunic, which was radiocarbon-dated to about A.D. 300.

Blue skies

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: J. H. Barrett)

A reindeer in Oppland, Norway.

Norway-reindeer-10

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: secretsoftheice.com/Oppland County Council/Museum of Cultural History)

An arrow that dates to about A.D. 800, the beginning of the Viking age.

Arrow close up

reindeer hunter arrows

(Image credit: J. H. Barrett)

An Ice Age arrow found in Trollsteinhøe, Norway.