1,300 year old ski discovered in Norway

As glaciers in Norway melted this summer, 390 artefacts dating back to over 6,000 years ago have emerged from the ice. This includes a 1,300 year old ski, a rune stick and ancient arrows.

medieval ski - photo courtesy Oppland County

The medieval ski was discovered in Reinheimen National Park – almost complete, it measures 172 cm long and 14.5 cm wide and has a raised section in the middle of the ski with a hole where the binding has been attached. There are even remains of the leather straps that were used to attachment the ski to the heel of a shoe. Archaeologist and project manager Espen Finstad noted that this was a rare find, as only about 20 pre-modern skis have been discovered in Norway, and that only one other example of a medieval ski that includes bindings exists, which was found in Finland.


Meanwhile, a rune stick was discovered in Breheimen National Park. It is also very unusual to find such an object at an altitude so high of (1900 meters above sea level), as they are usually found in towns along the coast. The stick has been carbon-dated to be about 1,000 years old, and while runologists have tried to interpret what it says, they still have not come to an answer.

medieval rune - photo courtesy Oppland County

The oldest items discovered from the retreating glaciers are eight wooden arrow shafts. One dates back to 6000 years ago, while the others are between 3,000 and 4,200 years old. Other artefacts collected in 2014 inlcude two great knives with iron blades and wooden handles, shoes, textiles, the skull of a horse and other bones.


These discoveries were made in the central Norwegian county of Oppland, which is home to some of the most mountainous terrain in the country. In previous year the melting ice has revealed a mitten from the Viking era, remnants of pack horses from Iron Age and the Middle Ages, and a 3,300 year old bow.

medieval ski binding  - photo courtesy Oppland County