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Norwegian history timeline | The ice ages

In Scandinavia, over the last 2.5 million years, there have been as many as 30 ice ages. The latest period stretched between 115,000 and 10,000 BC.
Image: Illustration - the woolly mammoth. | © Daniel - stock.adobe.com.

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Featured image: Illustration – the woolly mammoth. | © Daniel – stock.adobe.com.

The ice would come and go

Massive sheets of ice once covered the land that we call Norway today. The glaciers could be as much as 3,000 metres tall, and they constantly expanded and retreated.

Within and in between each of the 30 ice ages, warmer periods would occur, allowing plants and animals to return.

In Norway, archaeologists have found animal remains in caves and under rock shelters, dating back to these warmer periods.

Finds include remains of both the mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros. But as far as scientists know today, there were no humans in this part of the world before or during the ice ages.

Transformed the landscape

The glaciers were like enormous and slow-moving bulldozers and grinders, completely transforming the underlying rock formations.

The ice shaped the fjords, the mountain peaks, and the valleys – and moved and dropped vast amounts of rocks, stones, sand, and other residues.

For those who are observant, the ice age signs are everywhere in the landscape, even today.

Every year, the winter frost still pushes up a seemingly never-ending amount of stones and rocks in most Norwegian farmers’ fields, dropped by the melting ice, all those thousands of years ago.

Human history

With the end of the latest ice age – some 12,000 years ago – came the beginning of time; the beginning of human history in this part of the world.

The ice first melted along the coastline – and then gradually further inland. Plants and animals followed in its wake.

With the animals came the predators – among them the humans. The first people were nomadic or semi-nomadic hunters, fishers, and gatherers. They followed the seasons, and the movements of the prey.

When the old tales speak of the beginning of time – they speak of these first, small groups of people, who initially populated Norway’s coastline, then the inland fjords, valleys, and mountain plateaus.

Main sources: norgeshistorie.no | grind.no | Store norske leksikon – snl.no

Next: The Norwegian history timeline | The Early Stone age

Back to: The Norwegian history timeline | From the ice ages until today

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