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Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

Melting Ice Patch Reveals Ancient Hunting Weapon

June 30, 2010

To the untrained eye, University of Colorado at Boulder Research Associate Craig Lee’s recent discovery of a 10,000-year-old wooden hunting weapon might look like a small branch that blew off a tree in a windstorm. Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Lee, a research associate with CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research who found the atlatl dart, a spear-like hunting weapon, melting out of an ice patch high in the Rocky Mountains close to Yellowstone National Park. Lee, a specialist in the emerging field of ice patch archaeology, said the dart had been frozen in the ice patch for 10 millennia and that climate change has increased global temperatures and accelerated melting of permanent ice fields exposing organic materials that have long been entombed in the ice. Credit: University of Colorado at Boulder/National Geographic Society