Skip to comments.Alpine Guardians Try To Put Treasures On Ice
Posted on 04/17/2008 2:09:56 PM PDT by blam
Alpine guardians try to put treasures on ice
April 17, 2008
Prehistoric treasures unearthed in the Alps as melting glaciers recede are under threat from looters who are removing many of them.
Such is the concern for the newly revealed objects - which include weapons, clothing and tools - that a task force of archaeologists, anthropologists, mountain climbers and Alpine rescue teams has been formed in an attempt to salvage them.
Franco Nicolis, an archaeologist from Trento, said: We must be ready to intervene as if we were dealing with a public calamity.
He said that mountain climbers and hikers would be asked to report any finds to the task force rather than removing them.
An object removed from its context loses 90 per cent of its historical importance, he told La Repubblica, the Italian newspaper.
The initiative, which will ensure that items are preserved before they can deteriorate, is being organised by the superintendency of archaeology at Trento and the Stelvio National Park.
The most spectacular Alpine find so far is Oetzi the Iceman, also known as Similaun Man or Frozen Fritz - the well-preserved, mummified body of a hunter or shepherd in his forties, who died in about 3300BC.
He was found on the Schnalstal glacier in the Ötztal Alps on the border between Austria and Italy in 1991.
More recent finds include prehistoric bronze arrowheads, clothing and shoes at Schnidejoch in the Swiss Alps and Roman and mediaeval treasures found at Vedrete di Riete and Vioz in the Italian Alps.
The bodies of three Austro-Hungarian soldiers, who were killed in 1918 during the First World War, were also discovered in the Trentino region.
Oetzi, who was found by two German hikers, was at first taken to Innsbruck in Austria but it was later proved that the body had been found just inside Italian territory.
In 1998 the body was moved to the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy, where it is displayed under controlled conditions.
Archaeologists say that errors were made, which must not be repeated as more discoveries are made. Oetzi was dug out with ice-axes and hikers were allowed to touch the corpse and take tools and fragments of clothing as souvenirs.
Professor Nicolis, an expert on the Copper Age, said that careful study of such finds could produce priceless information. Analysis of pollen and tooth enamel in the remains of Oetzi indicate that he lived in mountain valleys 50km (31 miles) north of Bolzano.
One theory is that he was a mountain shepherd. He wore a cloak of woven grass, a vest, leggings and a loincloth made of leather, and waterproof shoes made of bearskin and deer hide.
His pouch contained a flint and dried fungus to be used as tinder and a copper axe. A flint knife and 14 bone-tipped arrows were found nearby.
Professor Nicolis said it was vital that scientists moved quickly to conserve such objects, observing that if Oetzi had been found even a few days later than he was the damage to the remains would have been irreparable.
Why can’t the Army guard those sites, for the time being?
Europe's highest mountain hotel 130 years ago, the Refugio Guglielmina is back to its best
All the stuff they’re finding is fake. It’s all been planted there by GW non-believers. Everyone knows, there’s a consensus, the ice has always been there. Only now are we causing it to melt with our SUVs!
You mean, the glaciers had receeded this far before? And it wasn't due to man-made global warming?
Surely, this must be a practical joke. Notify St. AlGore immediately!
Great minds, and all that.... :-)
Thanks Blam. You are on a ROLL! What a great week.
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Just don’t trip on the stairs. ;’)
The glaciers, according to the new hypothesis, have shrunk down to almost nothing at least ten times since the last ice age 10,000 years ago. "At the time of the Roman Empire, for example, the glacier tongue was about 300 meters higher than today," says Joerin. Indeed, Hannibal probably never saw a single big chunk of ice when he was crossing the Alps with his army.
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