Research press release


Scientific Reports

Earth science: Climate change may speed up degradation of Norse Viking Age remains


今回Jorgen Hollesenたちの研究グループは、北極域内の7か所の考古遺跡で22点の土壌試料を採取した。この試料には、グリーンランドの3つの主要な文化であるサッカック(紀元前2500~800年)、ドーセット(紀元前300年~紀元600年)、チューレ(紀元1300年以降)に由来する堆積物と、この地域に居住していたノルウェーのヴァイキング時代の入植者由来の堆積物が含まれる。有機堆積物は微生物による分解に対して非常に脆弱で、有機堆積物の分解には、土壌の温度と含水量が直接影響する。



Organic remains of Norse Viking Age settlers, such as wood, bone or ancient DNA, which are highly vulnerable to degradation, may be especially under threat from the effects of future climate change, according to a modelling study in Scientific Reports.

Jorgen Hollesen and colleagues collected 22 soil samples obtained from seven different archaeological sites across the Arctic. The samples contained deposits originating from the three main cultures of Greenland: Saqqaq (2,500 - 800 BC), Dorset (300 BC - 600 AD), and Thule (1,300 AD - present), as well as from Norse Viking Age settlers who inhabited the area. Organic deposits are highly vulnerable to degradation by microorganisms, which is directly affected by soil temperature and moisture content.

The authors used a computer model to simulate different climate change scenarios and the potential loss of organic artefacts due to changes in air temperature and precipitation rates (rainfall, snow and sleet) and their effect on Arctic soil. The model showed that 30 - 70% of the organic carbon contained in buried archaeological remains could degrade within the next 80 years. In the continental inland areas of the region, where many remains of the Norse Viking Age settlers are found, a possible loss of more than 35% of organic carbon could occur over the next 30 years.

With more than 180,000 archaeological sites registered in the Arctic, new methods are needed to detect the most vulnerable sites and help distribute limited conservation resources. The authors suggest that their method may help identify sites that are particularly vulnerable to climate change

doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45200-4


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