Svalbard Islands’ hidden treasures: Vikings’ leather

Svalbard Islands’ hidden treasures: Vikings’ leather

Vikings were up to leather trade. Some researchers from the University of Cambridge and NTNU University Museum, Norway, have recently published an article focusing on the analysis of a number of finds rediscovered in the very far North: specifically, in the mountain pass above Lendbreen, in the Svalbard Islands. In the middle of the Arctic Ocean. A glacier used to extend over the area until a short while ago. Among treasures hidden in the ice, subsequently resurfaced along with large plots of land, they also found a few leather objects.

Hidden treasures

British and Norwegian researchers have been studying the Lendbreen glaciers for a while. As reported by, due to abnormally hot temperatures, in summer 2011, a remarkable quantity of ice, larger than usual, melted. At that time, an ancient woollen tunic resurfaced around the mountain pass above Lendbreen. It dates back to 1,700 years ago. Because of increasingly high temperatures, the glacier land surface kept getting smaller: that is why hundreds of finds could turn up. Among others, footwear items, gloves and other fragments of leather objects.

Vikings were up to leather trade

Looking at Svalbard Islands’ hidden treasures, British and Norwegian researchers focused their investigation on about sixty finds. Thanks to radiocarbon dating system, they realized Vikings had been going through the pass from 300 AD until 1500 AD. According to researchers, Lendbreen Pass used to be a commercial route several goods were passing through. Some of them were quite rare at the time: for example, butter and animals’ horns. Yet, most of all, leather.

In the picture (credits: Espen Finstad/ a Viking leather shoe discovered at Lendbreen Pass

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