Skip to comments.VIking ship cracking up (Norway)
Posted on 02/25/2005 12:31:47 PM PST by franksolich
Viking ship cracking up
Eperts are worried about one of Norway's national treasures. Archaeologists have discovered cracks in the hull of he famed Oseberg Viking ship, which may halt plans to move the vessel to a new museum.
The archaeologists have been carefully going over the nearly 1,200-year-old ship, and are concerned about what they see, reports newspaper Aftenposten.
Removal of the vessel's top deck has revealed some exciting new details, like graffiti from the Viking age and details of the ship's rigging. But it's also exposed cracks that make archaeologists worry the ship won't tolerate any move to new quarters.
There have been plans afoot to build a new museum near the site of Oslo's first buildings east of downtown. The so-called "Middle Ages Park" already features the remains of ancient churches, albeit built after the Vikings ruled the waves.
Experts will spend the next several months trying to measure the ship's strength. Removal of the deck will allow the vessel to be scanned electronically. A 3-D drawing can then be made to help give the archaeologists an accurate basis from which to measure the vessel's structural capacity, Knut Paasche of the Vikings Ships Museum told Aftenposten.
White glove treatment
Working from cranes suspended over the Oseberg ship, conservationists have been using white gloves to carefully remove more than 100 deck parts without setting foot in the ship themselves. Their work is a far cry from that done in the 1950s, when workers went on board the vessel and even used a vacuum cleaner to remove dust.
Paasche described work during the past week as "incredibly difficult and somewhat risky." It's also been thrilling. None of those doing the work had ever seen the underside of the ship's deck.
They've seen signs of tools used on board the vessel when it was made for the burial mound of two women in the year 834. They've also found new decorations, that now will be photographed.
Viking researchers from all over Scandinavia are expected to travel to Oslo while the work is underway, to see the ship in an entirely new light.
The Vikings must not have been as good ship-builders as the English, if this boat is so fragile that vaccuuming it causes harm.
One recalls a few years the English excavated a boat from the reign of Henry VIII, where it had laid in the bottom of the water for hundreds of years, and it was still reasonably intact.
On the Aftenposten web-site (the red link above), there is also news about the possible demise of the famous luxury passenger ship, the Norway. It was never in the same class as the Cunarders Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Elizabeth II, and the current Queen Mary II, but one assumes it was still a pretty good ship.
Graffiti from the Viking age?
Not really fair. A viking longboat would be MUCH older than the reign of Henry VIII.
and just out of warranty, too, how much you wanna bet?
I think taking it out of the water speeds up the decaying process.
"Ping" for the Norway ping list.
My thanks to wizr of the Norway ping list, for sending that story about criminals turning themselves in, but alas they were Danish criminals in Denmark, not eastern Europeans trying to outwit wary Norwegian border guards.
This week, I plan to dig around and find the web-site (or even mailing address) of the Norwegian border guards, so as to send them my congratulations and admiration for the fine work they do, in protecting Norway.
Those on the Norway ping list, as usual, may expect a copy (via e-mail) of such correspondence, as in the past.
I remain mystified that one never reads stories about Norwegians smuggling beer, tobacco, and illegal substances into Denmark or Poland; it always seems the other way around.
Wonderful, law-abiding people, the Norwegians.
You are right, sir; the English ship would be only half as old, or even less than that--there was a cerebral gap while I typed the comments (sometimes the fingers type faster than the brain thinks).
So I apologetically take that part back.
Thanks for the ping. If there were women buried in the ship, they must have been greatly admired, or, er....well loved.
Don't be too hard on your ancestors. You are comparing a much older "clinker-built" galley to an early "Ship of the Line". Viking longboats were shallow draft vessels that could be sailed or rowed up narrow waterways & beached. Henry VIII was building a robust sailing vessel that was designed primarily to serve as a gun platform. 2 different animals and probably 400 years separate them.
Those scientists had BETTER be careful with that ship. :-)
You know, that news story about those two Danish criminals turning themselves in, makes me question the cerebral capacities of the Danes, otherwise wonderful people.
But of course that "web-site survey" the other day showed that Norway appears to have the fewest number of criminals in Scandinavia and northern Europe, with the exception of the diligent law-abiding Faeroese.
Not only that, but it is like comparing a DE to a BB (destroyer escort to a battleship). One light, built for speed and manuverability; the other heavy, built to take and deliver punishment.
Do the Viking Kittens need to host a fundraiser?
It's a 1200 year old wooden ship, the wood is probably rotting. The fact that it still exists at all shows they were excellent ship builders.
"The Vikings must not have been as good ship-builders as the English..."
The Vikings' legacy is huge, compared to their small populations.
In WWII the allies landed at Normandy beaches. Named Normandy after the Norwegian vikings that conquered part of France, soon before conquering England.
Near the same time, they also conquered southern Italy and part of the Holy lands. Bari, Italy was their regional capital.
Now moving west, Canada was visited by Lief Eriksson/Erikssen in 1,000. He sailed from Iceland, via Greenland to Canada. Some feel he went down the coast, even to the future Peoples' Republic of Taxxachusettes.
Now olde Lief made charts of the seas he sailed. Later, Christoffe Columbus, the Italian, sailed for Spain. He used, among other aides, the charts from the northern voyagers.
Today Norway has 4 million people.
(Another day I'll tell of Swedish Vikings' exploits.)
Actually, the Norwegian boat is about 700 years older, than that ship of Henry VIII.
<<just woke up; even messed up the headline to this posting.
What stymies me are two things--how would vaccuuming do any sort of discernible damage to such a thing, and why would a wooden boat be more likely to rot on dry land, than in the water (as one poster suggested)?
"Science" was never my strong suit.