Melting Norwegian glacier releases 500-year-old Viking treasures including perfectly preserved wooden box with a beeswax candle

  • Melting glaciers in Norway’s Lendbreen ice patch revealed a Viking treasure
  • Experts discovered a wooden box that has been sealed for up to 500 years
  • The team recently opened the box and found beeswax candle remains inside
  • The candles were essential items for Vikings along their travels between farms 

A 500-year-old wooden box, first discovered in 2019, contains the remains of a beeswax candle used to help Vikings find their farms, archaeologists have announced. 

Archaeologists removed the tight lid of the pine box with the leather straps, uncovered in Norway’s Lendbreen ice patch, discovering the candle that was essential to Vikings hundreds of years ago.  

The team suggests the box was used to transport the long candles that were used by Vikings to light the path between their main farm and summer farm.

The Lendbreen ice patch has become a sought out destination for archaeologists since 2011, when teams discovered thousands of artifacts sticking out from the melting Norwegian glacier.

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Melting glaciers in Norway’s Lendbreen ice patch have revealed an ancient wooden box that has been sealed for up to 500 years and archaeologists have opened the lid, revealing remains of beeswax candles

At first, the team thought it was a tinderbox that was lost accidently in the pass, but a further analysis proved otherwise, The History Blog reports.

‘It is radiocarbon-dated to AD 1475-1635, so 400-500 years old,’ glacial archaeologists from the Secrets of the Ice team shared in a statement. 

‘The content of the box was analyzed at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo: We were in for a big surprise – the content is beeswax!

‘What we are seeing inside the box is very likely the remains of a beeswax candle.’

Candle boxes were a common item among Vikings that were used to house expensive beeswax candles as Vikings made their travels to different farms. 

The melting glaciers, brought on by climate change, is creating a valuable archaeological site in Norway, which was an ancient passageway used by Vikings for thousands of years and littered with forgotten artifacts. 

The Lendbreen ice patch has produced more than 6,000 artifacts since archaeologists began investigating the area.

Last November, teams unearthed nearly 70 arrow shafts, plus shoes, textiles and reindeer bones on a mountainside in Jotunheimen, about 240 miles from Oslo.

Last November, teams unearthed nearly 70 arrow shafts, plus shoes, textiles and reindeer bones on a mountainside in Jotunheimen, about 240 miles from Oslo

Clothes, tools, equipment and animal bone have also been found by a team in Norway’s mountainous region. Pictured is an ancient snow shoe

Based on radiocarbon dating, the oldest arrows are from around 4100 BC, with the most recent dating from 1300 AD.

Clothes, tools, equipment and animal bone have also been found by a team in Norway’s mountainous region, according to the journal Antiquity. 

Researchers collected a haul of more than 100 artefacts at the site includes horseshoes, a wooden whisk, a walking stick, a wooden needle, a mitten and a small iron knife.

Although a warming world is revealing these extraordinary relics, archaeologists are in a race against time because the ice is what is keeping them preserved.

Archaeologist Regula Gubler told AFP in October 2020: ‘It is a very short window in time. In 20 years, these finds will be gone and these ice patches will be gone.’

‘It is a bit stressful.’

She explained that materials like leather, wood, birch bark and textiles can be destroyed by erosion.

And the only reason they have stayed preserved is because of the ice.

THE VIKING AGE LASTED FROM AROUND 700–1110 AD

The Viking age in European history was from about 700 to 1100 AD.

During this period many Vikings left their homelands in Scandinavia and travelled by longboat to other countries, like Britain and Ireland.

When the people of Britain first saw the Viking longboats they came down to the shore to welcome them. 

However, the Vikings fought the local people, stealing from churches and burning buildings to the ground.

The people of Britain called the invaders ‘Danes’, but they came from Norway and Sweden as well as Denmark.

The name ‘Viking’ comes from a language called ‘Old Norse’ and means ‘a pirate raid’.

The first Viking raid recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was around 787 AD.

It was the start of a fierce struggle between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings.

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