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Horse from Middle Ages melts from glacier

A recovered iron shoe. Photo: Oppland County Council

A recovered iron shoe. © Oppland County Council

The remains of a probable packhorse dating back nearly 1000 years have emerged from a melting glacier in Norway.

The find has excited archaeologists with the Oppland Fylkeskommune (the Oppland County Council).

The remains emerged from a melting glacier between Lom and Skjåk at an altitude of about 2000 metres.

Even horse manure has emerged from the ice.

Oppland County archaeologist Lars Pilo told Norwegian news site Nrk.no that it was a small horse, and may have died from a broken leg while crossing the rough terrain.

Archaeologists also found horseshoes dating back 800-900 years and manure about 1000 years old, pointing to the use of the general area as a high-alpine route.

The recovered jawbone from a horse that died nearly 1000 years ago. Photo: Oppland County Council

The recovered jawbone from a horse that died nearly 1000 years ago. © Oppland County Council

TheLocal.no reports that the horse may have been used for transport and could well have been killed on the spot after breaking its leg.

Danish-born Pilø, who heads snow archeology for the Oppland council, said the horse was found last month around the Lendbreen glacier, near Lillehammer, which he suspects was used for hunting and as a shortcut over the mountains during the period the horse died.

He suggests the horse may have been used to carry reindeer carcasses back off the mountains to the villages below.

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