Norway finds another Viking ship

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On an open field along the Oslo Fjord, among grave mounds from the Viking Age, archaeologists have found what they believe is another buried Viking ship. The discovery was made with the help of georadar that shows a ship-shaped object.

The fields and forests of Borre in Vestfold run along the west side of the Oslo Fjord, in a county that has produced Norway’s other famed Viking ships. PHOTO: Vestfold fylkeskommune

The ship’s form was actually first spotted nearly two years ago, but many examinations were needed in order to confirm that it’s another Viking ship. Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s government minister in charge of climate and the environment, announced the discovery on Monday along with the local Vestfold County Governor Rune Hogsnes.

“It’s not every day we find a new Viking ship, so this is really exciting,” Hogsnes told reporters at a press conference Monday morning. “For us locals it’s no surprise. A lot of treasures from the Viking times are hidden under the turf in our county.”

Norway’s most famous and best-preserved Viking ships in the world were also found in Vestfold, including both the Oseberg and Gokstad ships that are housed at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.

The latest Viking ship is believed to be lying to the right of the two grave mounds depicted in the center of this old map of the Borre Park, which opened in 1932. PHOTO: Vestfold Museene

Terje Gansum, in charge of cultural heritage for the county, said the georadar pictures show a “boatform” believed to be at least 15-meters long but it’s unclear how much of the vessel has been preserved. It was found within the county’s Borreparken, just south of Horten, which is known for its many grave mounds from the early Iron Age. They’re visible to the naked eye and are considered monuments to the political power Borre had more than 1,000 years ago.

Only one of the mounds, known as Skipshaugen, has been thoroughly excavated. When it was dug out in 1852, it revealed that a documented Viking ship had been buried there, along with richly decorated bridles and stirrups for a horse and other objects believed to have belonged to people with high status. Much of it is on display at the Midgard Viking Center located adjacent to the Borre Park.

The new discovery is located close to the center of the park, just east of three large grave mounds. The nearby Borre Church dates from around 1100.

“This is unique Norwegian history and it’s not possible to over-exaggerate it,” Elvestuen said as he wandered within stakes set up to show the ship’s formation under a remaining patch of snow.

Another buried Viking ship has also been discovered on the other side of the Oslo Fjord and farther south, near Sarpsborg in Østfold County. It was made public last fall but no excavations have yet begun.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund