From Melting Glaciers, WWI 'Mummies' Emerge

Retreating ice reveals those who fought in the 'White War' in Italy's Alps

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 16, 2014 1:40 PM CST
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email

(Newser) Time calls it "one of the strangest consequences of global warming yet"—glaciers are melting in the Italian Alps and revealing the mummified corpses of soldiers from World War I. Two, for instance, were buried in unmarked graves last year in the village of Peio, reports the Telegraph, which digs into the history of the "White War" fought on mountaintops between soldiers from Italy (called the Alpini) and Austria (the Kaiserschützen). "They feel contemporary," says a local archeologist, who adds that he immediately thought of the young men's mothers upon seeing their bodies. "They come out of the ice just as they went in."

The melting ice also is revealing the contraptions used by both armies to fight at altitudes of 6,500 feet or more, including makeshift cable-transport systems to get troops to the peaks, along with diaries and even love letters. As it turns out, the brutal weather conditions killed more men than actual fighting, and a forensic anthropologist is attempting to identify remains as they surface. Click for the full Telegraph piece, or click to read about another unusual find in the Alps.

File photo from the Alps.
File photo from the Alps.   (Flickr)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.