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The world’s melting glaciers are yielding up their secrets too quickly

FORCLE GLACIER, Switzerland — At around 8,000 feet above sea level, Switzerland’s Forcle Glacier has for thousands of years been deeply ensconced in a frigid mountain valley overlooked by some of Europe’s highest peaks.
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To early human hunters who climbed these heights, it must have seemed as if its snow-covered body of ice would forever keep the valley locked in its frozen grip. Whatever was lost on these rocks — iron spears, leather shoes or rudimentary straps — was swallowed by the ice, never to reappear.
But when the Swiss archaeologist Romain Andenmatten arrived here on a recent September day, the ground was so muddy and moist that his shoes sank deep into it. On the ground in front of him lay a leather strap, rimmed with gleaming ice crystals, its holes filled with fine gravel.
The last time a human held it may have been over 1,000 years ago.

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