Swiss urge glacier hikers to look for artifacts (Update)

Jun 23, 2014 by John Heilprin
In this picture taken Saturday June 21, 2104, hikers take a rest on the Alvier mountain in the Swiss Alps near Truebbach , Switzerland. (AP Photo/Keystone,Arno Balzarini)

Swiss scientists are urging alpinists and hikers to keep an eye out this summer for lost items in melting ice patches—items lost hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

A project run by a Swiss cultural institute and a graduate student in the canton (state) of Graubuenden aims to gather artifacts trapped long ago in glaciers—finds that are now turning up with more frequency due to a warming planet.

The project—the brainchild of Leandra Naef, who has a master's degree in prehistoric archaeology from the University of Zurich—encourages people to turn over things like wood or clothing they might run across in eastern Switzerland where the Swiss National Park is located.

In recent decades mountaineers have found everything from goat skin leggings in the Swiss Alps to a corpse in the melting ice of South Tyrol, each about 5,000 years old.

According to the institute and her published research, Naef focused the most promising possibilities down to about 300 sites that are 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) high or more. She then prioritized them by how often they might have been used by past mountain travelers.

Some of the sites she will try to explore herself, but for most she will rely on the alert eyes of other climbers and hikers, asking them to report any finds to Swiss Alpine Club huts.

In this picture taken Saturday June 21, 2104, hikers enjoy the view from the Alvier mountain in the Swiss Alps near Truebbach , Switzerland. (AP Photo/Keystone,Arno Balzarini)

The institute is sponsoring the project through the end of 2015 in hopes of cataloging the most promising sites for archaeologists to explore further.

Explore further: Swiss govt tightens tech security over NSA spying

3.3 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Swiss dam fault kills thousands of trout

Mar 31, 2013

Thousands of trout were killed in Switzerland after technical trouble at a hydroelectric dam stemmed the water flow in a national park, the Swiss news agency ATS reported.

Swiss to inaugurate high-tech, green mountain hut

Sep 25, 2009

Switzerland will inaugurate on Saturday a new mountain refuge in the Alps that looks more like a futuristic space station than the no-frills stonewall huts that alpinists are more familiar with.

Italian 'problem' bears irk Swiss

Aug 23, 2013

Swiss and Italian officials are butting heads over how to tackle bears roaming between the two countries, in a dispute centred on balancing human and animal welfare.

Recommended for you

Biology trumps chemistry in open ocean

1 hour ago

Single-cell phytoplankton in the ocean are responsible for roughly half of global oxygen production, despite vast tracts of the open ocean that are devoid of life-sustaining nutrients. While phytoplankton's ...

Underwater robot sheds new light on Antarctic sea ice

6 hours ago

The first detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice have been developed using an underwater robot. Scientists from the UK, USA and Australia say the new technology provides accurate ice thickness ...

Damage caused by geothermal probes is rare

8 hours ago

Soil settlements or upheavals and resulting cracks in monuments, floodings, or dried-up wells: Reports about damage caused by geothermal probes have made the population feel insecure. In fact, the probability ...

Extreme shrimp may hold clues to alien life

10 hours ago

(Phys.org) —At one of the world's deepest undersea hydrothermal vents, tiny shrimp are piled on top of each other, layer upon layer, crawling on rock chimneys that spew hot water. Bacteria, inside the shrimps' ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.