In 2014, archaeologists found a lone wooden ski frozen in ice on Digervarden Mountain in southern Norway. Now, Science magazine reports that researchers have uncovered the other half of the 1,300-year-old pair - and together, they’re among the best-preserved ancient skis ever found.
The newly recovered ski is in better condition than the one found seven years ago. Measuring about 74 inches long and 7 inches wide, the second ski is slightly larger than its mate. Both feature raised footholds. Leather straps and twisted birch bark bindings found with the skis would have been attached through holes in the footholds, according to Smithsonian magazine.
“The skis are not identical, but we should not expect them to be,” says Lars Pilø, an archaeologist with the Glacier Archaeology Program in Norway. “The skis are handmade, not mass-produced. They have a long and individual history of wear and repair before an Iron Age skier used them together and they ended up in the ice.”
Even at 1,300 years old, this pair of ancient skis are a few thousand years younger than the most ancient ever discovered. National Geographic reports that hunters in Europe and Asia began using skis to chase game around the end of the last Ice Age, and the oldest confirmed ski, unearthed in Russia, dates to 6000 B.C.E. Archaeologists in Scandinavia have found wooden skis and ski-like artifacts dated to as early as 3200 B.C.E.
Today's Sunday Magazine articles
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