Melting glaciers reveal Mongolian artifacts

Eva Mihelich, Staff writer

Climate change is a hot topic today, with the sea level rising to a new high and the past seven years being the warmest on record. This is a cause for concern for future generations as these levels are climbing at an alarming rate.

Glaciers have been melting recently due to the higher temperatures, which if continued will cause sea levels to rise too high. They have been melting at a faster rate than usual over the past 50 years, and some predict that most glaciers will melt away completely sometime soon. This will result in habitat destruction, coastal erosion and flooding along with other issues.

The discussion of climate change is strangely controversial and politically divisive, but to its core, it is based on scientific facts. The temperature is rising each year, pollution is posing a health risk, multiple animal species have been wiped out and the sea level is rising.

Although climate change is destructive and currently rampant, the one unusual benefit of the melting glaciers is that they are revealing ancient artifacts that were frozen many years ago.

The effects of climate change are currently being observed in Mongolia as the summer ice loss harms the health of domestic reindeer and pastures become less viable.

The National Museum of Mongolia and partners are working to identify and preserve ancient materials that are emerging from the melting ice in Mongolia. These materials have given historians much insight into how people, specifically ancient Mongolians, have lived in the past.

According to news sources, one of the first discoveries to emerge from a melted glacier was a finely woven piece of animal hair rope. Archaeologists believe this to be from a bridle or a harness, and its condition made it appear as if it had just been dropped in the ice the day before. However, after a thorough evaluation, archaeologists found that it was over 1,500 years old. This finding revealed things about the lifestyle of ancient Mongolian people, such as their herding practices.

In addition to the bridle or harness piece that was found, archaeologists are finding skeletal remains of many animals that do not even exist anymore. Among these remains are argali sheep, spanning a period of more than three millennia.

Hunting artifacts were found with these skeletal remains which reveals a vital piece of information about the lives of ancient Mongolians: they were not just herders, but also hunters.

As stated on The Conversation, a nonprofit news organization, “these finds demonstrate that big game hunting on mountain ice has been an essential part of pastoral subsistence and culture in the Altai Mountains for thousands of years.”

Climate change has been getting worse over the years and is having visible effects on the world around us. Although finding artifacts hidden by ice is interesting, that ice is not supposed to be melting in the first place.

We all need to band together in order to begin to save the earth. Try to save energy, walk or ride a bike when accessible and help the environment in any way you can