BOULDER, Colo., June 30 (UPI) — A U.S. researcher has discovered a 10,000-year-old hunting weapon in melting ice, a find made possible by global warming, experts say.
As glaciers and ice fields melt at an unprecedented rate, increasing numbers of significant artifacts, as well as plant material and animal carcasses, are being released from the ice that has held them for thousands of years, a University of Colorado at Boulder release said Tuesday.
UC researcher Craig Lee found the weapon, an atlatl throwing dart, in a melting ice patch high in the Rocky Mountains near Yellowstone Park, the release said.
“We didn’t realize until the early 2000s that there was a potential to find archaeological materials in association with melting permanent snow and ice in many areas of the globe,” Lee said.
“We’re not talking about massive glaciers,” he added. “We’re talking about the smaller, more kinetically stable snowbanks that you might see if you go to Rocky Mountain National Park.”
“What we’re finding as archaeologists is stuff that was lost,” Lee said. “Maybe you missed a shot and your weapon disappeared into the snowbank. It’s like finding your keys when you drop them in snow. You’re not going to find them until spring. Well, the spring hasn’t come until these things started melting for the first time, in some instances, in many, many thousands of years
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