The 66-foot vessel was discovered in 2018 by NIKU (the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research) and Østfold County Council just beneath the topsoil at a depth of 1.6 feet. The archeologists were using newly developed motorized geo-radar systems. It is now stated that the ship, called the Gjellestad ship, is from the Viking Age. Read more about the historic Viking Longship discovered in Norway.
The find has caught worldwide media attention as the archeologists were able to see five long houses, at least 10 burial mounds and a keel of a Viking longship at Gjellestad outside Halden in Norway. The Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo is responsible for the excavation.
First Viking Excavation in 100 years
This will be the first excavation of a Viking ship in 100 years in Norway, and the technology behind the spectacular finds is also getting a lot of attention. Parts of the wood and the keel are still missing, but the examinations shows that the timber in the ship was chopped after the year 732, so it probably dates to the period between late 700s and the beginnings of 900s.
In a statement NIKU department head Knut Paasche said, “This will be exciting for all of us, regardless of whether you are an archaeologist or just have a medium interest in our past.”
How the geo-radar system works
The motorized geo-radar system used can be compared to an echo sounder that sends a signal down the ground with a reflex. Based on these signals, archaeologists map out areas that stand out from its surroundings – so-called anomalies.
Burial of a significant person
“This is the first half of the Viking Age, and it indicates concurrency with the other major ship finds we know in Norway. The ship fits into a context we already know, while at the same time it is a new ship that will further complement the story,” said project manager Christian Løchsen Rødsrud.
Related: Norwegian Viking Saga Confirmed
Although no remnants of people have been found at Gjellestad, the archeologists are sure it has been a person of great significance from the upper social classes buried there. “Or more than one. There were two women in the Oseberg grave, so it doesn’t have to be limited to one,” sais Rødsrud.
Feature image (on top): Illustration University of Oslo
Historic Viking Longship Discovered in Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg