2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
More than a hundred years have passed since the last Viking ship was excavated in Norway. In 2018, almost by accident, a ship was discovered by GPR, the age of which is about 1200 years. The huge funerary boat seems to be the last refuge for the Viking warriors. This is a very rare find and a great fortune for archaeologists. Researchers faced something this year that caused them to sound the alarm and ask the government for help. If you don't hurry, this unique and rare artifact will be destroyed.
The ship was found on farm land, so the mound was missing. In June, archaeologists are planning to start excavations in order to completely unearth the boat. The Norwegian government has already allocated funds for this. It will cost the Norwegian taxpayers one and a half million US dollars.
For more than a thousand years, the ship served as a burial vault for the great Viking commander or for several brave warriors. They plan to find out during archaeological work, when the entire vessel is excavated. Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment, Sveinung Rotevatn, commented: "We are extremely excited because the last time this was done was over a hundred years ago!"
Once the place where the ship was found was a Viking cemetery. The most important thing about this is that the ship lies near the drainage ditch. It is very humid and wet there. This is very dangerous for the wood from which the boat is made. She is attacked by a fungus. Indeed, for him, the concept of the historical value of a given artifact means little. Therefore, historians have sounded the alarm. Until the ship is completely rotted, it needs to be dug up.
It is extremely important for the history of Norway to preserve this find and research it in detail. After all, the last finds of such importance were more than a century ago. They were found then with a small interval. Three ships: one in 1868, another in 1880, and a third in 1904.
Today, fortunately, modern technologies are at the disposal of specialists. Huge funds have been allocated for this. It is not without reason that the Norwegian government considers the archaeological find a national treasure. Everything needs to be done as accurately, correctly, safely and thoroughly as possible.
A team from the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Research Institute (NIHR) used ground penetrating radar to locate the ship two years ago. Unfortunately, it was only last year that a ditch so close to the ship was noticed causing severe damage to the timber. Moisture also led to mold growth, all with the destructive effects of the air.
If the project is delayed until better times, the ship will simply fall apart before the crew can bring it to the surface. An initial investigation was conducted last year to find out how delicate the condition of the ship is, and this study found that the top of the hull is actually rotting.
Of course, experts cannot be sure what happens to the rest of the ship. It is only known that the longer it is exposed to air, and the longer the fungus eats it, the more serious the damage will be. Archaeologists also hope the excavation will reveal a lot about the Viking tradition of ship burial. After all, it is still not completely clear to scientists how it all actually happened.
Ian Bill, curator of the Viking Ship Collection at the Museum of Cultural History, explains this: “With the equipment we have today, we have a tremendous opportunity to understand the traditions of ship burials. Theories differ about this. Historians suggest that this is a symbolic ritual for one or more people who died in a naval battle. Perhaps the ritual was meant for someone of high rank, the admiral in command of this ship. This is similar to how in ancient Egypt the pharaohs were buried with various objects, treasures and even animals."
This excavation project is the largest archaeological project in the history of the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Research Institute. The team is committed to starting excavations as soon as possible. Also thanks to the new GPR, the team from the Institute hopes that they will be able to find more than one similar burial on the territory of their country. This opens up tremendous opportunities for studying Viking history. Now the most important thing is to remove this priceless Viking treasure from the earth as efficiently and quickly as possible, and preserve it.
Archaeologists have been lucky in recent years with the finds of the Viking Age, read our article about how archaeologists discovered ancient Viking artifacts on a melting glacier.
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