Norway

Archaeologists have found traces of a Viking ship in Halden

In a burial mound in Halden, archaeologists have found traces of a Viking ship using georadar. This may be one of the largest ships found from this time.

Archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute of Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), commissioned by the Østfold County Council found a print of a ship 20 meters long.

“We are sure that there is a ship, but how much is conserved is difficult to say before the investigation is investigated,” states Morten Hanisch, county conservative, in Østfold county municipality.

“The find looks incredibly exciting. We only have three well-preserved Viking Shipwreck finds here, so this finding will surely be of great historical significance, “says head of department Knut Paasche at NIKU. He is an expert on ships from this period.

Half feet deep

The finding was made after the municipality of Halden reported on application for drainage of the soil at Viksletta in Halden. It has long been known that there have been burials on this grounds, but NIKU nevertheless denotes this finding as very sensational.

The Viking ship finds today just under the ground of about half a meter deep. The data shows a ship-shaped structure. It is likely that only the tracks of the central part of the ship are now visible.

“When we only see the lower part of the ship, this means that we can at best end up with a ship at least the size of other Norwegian Viking ship finds. This is probably one of the major ship discoveries from this period, “said Hanisch.

It has not been determined exactly how old the ship may be, but ships as a part of burial finds are common from the younger Iron Age in the period 500-1030. All the other major ship discoveries from the Oslo Fjord area date back to the Viking era, in the period 800-1030.

The three Viking Shipwreck finds previously in this country are the Gokstad ship found at Sandefjord in 1880, the Oseberg ship found at Tønsberg in 1904, and the Tuneskipet found at Fredrikstad in 1867. These ships are preserved in the Viking Ship House in Bygdøy, Oslo. These ships are between 19 and 23 meters long.

Burial mounds and houses

In addition to the Viking ship, the georadar has detected at least eight unknown burial mounds and five houses in the area.

– The burial mounds on the field at Jellhaugen were plowed away in the late 1800s when agriculture was mechanized. What remains, and as we catch in our georadata data, is the cave that has been lying around the grave hill. In some cases, we also see the grave itself, if it is dug into the underground, says Paasche.

Multiple investigations

It has not yet been clarified what will happen with the ship finding. In consultation with the Riksantikvaren, Østfold County Municipality has clarified that further on-the-spot investigations are needed to get better knowledge of the discovery.

They recommend using more geophysical methods that can provide more knowledge about the ship without the need to dig it up. Once the preliminary surveys have been completed, the Riksantikvaren will decide what will happen next.

The landowner on site will receive financial compensation for lost harvest in one year for the disadvantages the surveys bring with him. The county municipality praises landowner Olav Jellestad for being patient and flexible so that the archaeologists have been able to conduct the georadar surveys.

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