A thrifty shopper in Norway found a shirt in a bargain bin of an Oslo that turned out to be an authentic garment from the 3rd Century, according to researchers.
The article of clothing — which predates the advent of the Viking Era in Scandinavia by a good 400 years or so — was dropped off by an anonymous donor sometime in early March, and has been determined to be an authentic garment that was relinquished by a thawing glacier sometime recently.
A shopper discovered the 3rd Century jerkin in a 6-Krone (roughly one U.S. dollar) bargain bin at an Oslo Goodwill thrift store, purchased the item, and presented it to historical researchers before receiving laughing ridicule from store managers for demanding a refund the following day.
It’s one of a number of other authentic ancient artifacts that have appeared in thrift stores, lost-and-found boxes, and tip jars throughout Norway in recent months. An ancient, ornately-carved walking stick was found mixed in a golf bag full of old, mismatched clubs and a Garden Weasel; and an ancient bow and spear heads were found in the sporting goods department of a downtown Oslo pawn shop.
Similarly, an ancient mitten and shoe were found on two different city transit buses. All the items are in the custody of archaeologists, stored in a lost-and-found bin swiped from a local Ikea outlet.
Through the centuries, mountain glaciers have acted like sofa cushions on the Norwegian landscape, gathering and preserving curios and then relinquishing them in the future. In recent years, the global warming phenomenon has led to a reluctant boon for archaeologists in Norway, where thawing glaciers have been releasing centuries-preserved artifacts. In the past, retreating glaciers have revealed carcasses of woolly mammoths and other extinct animals in Encino Man condition. On one occasion, Siberian huskies feasted upon the carcass of a revealed woolly mammoth in northern Russia.
But alas, Norway’s research community can’t be everywhere at once. Locals in the areas near the retreating glaciers are finding the articles, and, perhaps not realizing that they are priceless artifacts from a bygone culture, unload them at various thrift shops, rummage sales, pawn shops, and other areas that collect unwanted or “gently-used” items.
“We have no real idea how many genuine artifacts of archaeological interest are rattling around out there,” said Norwegian historical researcher Patrik Langrud. “We keep picturing an entire frozen Viking just sitting in someone’s chest freezer somewhere.”