Many are made from organic materials (like wood or animal hide) that archaeologists rarely have a chance to study; in pretty much every other environment, they would have decomposed.
A paper describing the research was published in the journal Trending: Michael Flynn Met Privately with FBI in White House Without Trump Knowing, Report Says Radiocarbon dating during the course of the research placed some of the objects, like the nearly 200 arrows, as far back as 4000 B. Ancient hunter-gatherer communities in the region lived off reindeer and became proficient farmers, even at an elevation of more than 8,000 feet.
According to lead author Lars Pilø, co-director of the Glacier Archaeology Program at Oppland County Council, the skis differ from the modern-day version considerably.
They're broader, and might have at one point been partly covered in fur.
As glaciers advance, Connor explained, they often emit summer meltwater streams that spew aprons of gravel beyond the glacier's edge.
[Images: Shrinking Alaska Glacier Spied from Space] A gravel layer about 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) high appears to have encased the trees before the glacier ultimately advanced enough to plow over them, snapping off limbs and preserving the stumps in an ice tomb.
"These are relict stories, and piecing them together with radiocarbon dating and stratigraphic work would help piece together the chapters of the story," Connor said.
The researchers have not yet published the results from the investigation but plan to do so once they have gathered more data.
Taku Glacier, located south of Juneau, is currently triggering this same process as it advances over a modern forest of cottonwood trees, offering the researchers a chance to observe the process in real time, Connor said.
Unlike the growing Taku Glacier, which accumulates snow at a high elevation and thus is well situated to grow, the lower-elevation Mendenhall Glacier has retreated by an average rate of about 170 feet (52 m) per year since 2005.
The team plans to return to the Mendenhall Glacier to dig through sediment in search of pine needles associated with the trees, along with other vegetation.
They also plan to measure the growth bands of the trees to determine how old the trees were when they died.
"Mostly, people find chunks of wood helter-skelter, but to see these intact upright is kind of cool." The team has tentatively identified the trees as either spruce or hemlock, based on the diameter of the trunks and because these are the types of trees growing in the region today, Connor said, but the researchers still need to further assess the samples to verify the tree type.