Scientists have discovered pieces of a 4,000-year-old bow, arrows and a wooden food container belonging to a Bronze Age mountaineer in Switzerland.
The artifacts along with several items was found in a rock shelter beside a glacier near the top of the nearly 8,800-foot Lotschberg Pass in the Bernese Alps.
The items are thought to have belonged to Bronze Age hunters or animal herders who took shelter beneath a large rock near the top of the pass around 4,000 years ago, said Regula Gubler, an archaeologist for the Canton of Bern government.
The site was discovered in 2011. Archaeologists from the Canton of Bern Archaeological Service surveyed the site that year and recovered several items during an excavation in 2012, but bad weather prevented them from finishing the dig. "Since then weve had snow on the site, but this year we could finish it. It was a warm summer and not much snow in the winter, and this combination melted the snow," Gubler said.
The latest finds include four pieces of shaped elm wood from what could be two Bronze Age bows, wood from possible arrow shafts, strips of ancient leather and a cord made from animal fibre attached to a button made from cattle horn, Gubler said. Carbon dating showed that the objects originated from between 2000 and 1800 BC, Live Science reported.
The artifacts all came from an area that measures about two square meters, inside a hollow among the rocks just below the top of the pass, Gubler said. The finds suggest a single person or small group had taken shelter in the hollow around 400 years ago, and left the objects behind, she said.