World Mongolia: Archaeologists Race to Preserve Artifacts as the Ice Melts

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  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    Ice melt due to climate change is a blessing and a curse for archaeologists. Retreating ice and snow can reveal amazingly preserved textiles, hides, wooden tools and even mummies that have been hidden for hundreds or thousands of years. But once these treasures are exposed, the clock starts ticking for their survival. Out of the natural freezer, ancient and prehistoric objects could quickly decompose due to exposure to the elements or get picked up by passing hikers or tourists.


    Archaeologists in glacial regions around the world are racing to document pieces of history that they fear could disappear for good. High-altitude regions of Mongolia, where ice patches are melting at an alarming rate, are in urgent need of study, according to a new report published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

    The first surveys of declining snow and ice patches in Mongolia have turned up arrowheads, animal carcasses, pieces of rope, wooden tools and artifacts that could shed light on the origins of reindeer domestication.

    "We were absolutely shocked at the extent of the melting," says archaeologist William Taylor, a researcher with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and lead author of the new study.


    Read more here. (Smithsonian)
     

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