In 1903 a farmer close to the Norwegian city of Tønsberg – a large city in the Viking age – stumbled over part of a Viking ship from around 834. The ship was used in a burial and was almost in one piece when it was found. Two women were buried there and speculations have run wild as to whom these two women were. There is no doubt that they – or at least one of them – were rich since they`ve eaten plenty of meat all their lives. Poorer people ate more fish.
Woman from the Middle East?
There is a bit of debate about one of the women and whether she was old and rich as well or if she was younger and possibly a slave. I think the latest research has concluded that both women were older and rich. An interesting side-story is how one test showed that this woman was probably from the Middle East but since they haven`t been able to find this result in newer tests, they don`t find that theory entirely credible.
The ship was excavated very carefully and one can now watch it in the Viking ship museum in Oslo. You can read more about it on Wikipedia: Oseberg Ship on Wikipedia
Building the copy
A group of people have worked long and hard with building a copy of this ship.
They`ve tried it before a couple of years ago but made a huge mistake and that ship sank. So it was with baited breath that they launched a new one this summer. You can watch a small video of the launch here. The large white boat next to the Viking ship is the royal boat and the older gentleman is the Norwegian king.
It was hard work because they wanted to do everything the Viking way. A lot of the people working on the Viking ship copy even made Viking clothes for themselves and their family.
I saw the copy – yay!
Last week I was lucky enough to be going on a business trip to the city of Tønsberg and I even stayed at the hotel next to the Oseberg ship copy. I skipped a few speeches because a Viking ship copy is more important, right? These are my pictures of the ship.
When I was there a group of kindergarten kids came down to the ship, apparently to go aboard and probably to go for a short ride. I secretly wished I was five years old and could join them 🙂