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Samples May Be Lost

As temperatures rise, archaeological and DNA samples from Greenland — including from Vikings and the Saqqaq people who were present there 600 years and 4,400 years ago, respectively — will decay more quickly, Mashable writes.

A University of Copenhagen-led team analyzed organic deposits from seven archaeological sites in Greenland and used that data to predict current and future soil temperatures, water content, and any organic carbon loss. As they write in Scientific Reports, the researchers estimate that if current trends hold 70 percent of organic carbon at these sites could be lost by 2100, but even if carbon emissions are sharply cut, 30 percent of organic carbon at these sites could still be lost by 2100.

"If temperatures go up, degradation rates will increase," lead author Jørgen Hollesen a senior researcher at the National Museum of Denmark, tells Mashable.

He and his colleagues write in their paper that the methods they used could be applied to uncover the most vulnerable sites and use that information to help prioritize resources to excavate the most threatened and archaeologically important sites.