Norwegian history timeline | the ice ages

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

Image: Illustration – the woolly mammoth. | © Daniel –

The ice would come and go

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

During warmer, intermittent periods, which could last for centuries, the ice melted away in places, and flora and fauna returned.

In Norway, animal remains have been found in caves and under rock shelters, dating back to the last ice age period.

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.

Shaped the landscape

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

They shaped the fjords, the mountain peaks, the valleys, left vast mounds of residue, and so much more of what we see in the Norwegian landscape today.

For those who are observant, the signs are everywhere.

Every year, the winter frost 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.

The beginning of time

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 also 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 groups of people who populated Norway’s coastline, valleys, and mountain plateaus.

Click here for the full Norwegian history timeline

Main source: Store norske leksikon –

Category: History

Our most recent posts