Hiking in the icy mountains of Norway, archaeologists scanned the melting glacier. Something stuck between the rocks caught their attention. They carefully pulled it out— and found part of an ancient hunting trap.
“That’s not something you see every day,” an archaeologist with Secrets of the Ice said in an Aug. 24 Facebook video.
Underneath the large boulders was a long, pointed stick with a smaller rectangular piece tied to the end, the video shows. Archaeologists identified it as a “scaring stick.”
Scaring sticks were used by ancient hunters to trap reindeer, according to a news release from Secrets of the Ice.
“Reindeer are very sensitive animals and tend to shy away from human-like silhouettes or moving objects,” archaeologists said.
Knowing reindeer avoided such “potentially dangerous” shapes, ancient hunters would put lines of sticks with movable objects attached in the snow, the release said. The sticks would scare reindeer, directing them toward archers lying in wait. A photo shows a reconstruction of this hunting technique.
Archaeologists uncovered several scaring sticks during their recent survey, the Facebook post said. The artifacts revealed the location of a 1,500-year-old “reindeer hunting site.”
Lars Holger Pilø, the project’s co-director, told McClatchy News that the reindeer hunting site was found in Breheimen National Park, about 160 miles northwest of Oslo.
Now, the ancient hunting site is mostly “dead glaciers,” archaeologists said in an Aug. 25 post. “These glaciers have melted so much that they no longer have enough mass to keep moving.”
The melting ice also revealed “cairns marking two ancient trails” but is unlikely to have preserved any other artifacts, archaeologists said.