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Gokstad ship

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Valkyrie
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« on: May 24, 2010, 01:29:43 pm »

Gokstad ship

The Gokstad ship is a Viking ship found beneath a burial mound at Gokstad farm in Sandar, Sandefjord, Vestfold, Norway. Excavation of Gokstadhaugen or Kongshaugen (from the Old Norse words kong meaning king and haugr meaning mound) revealed a ship burial dated back to 9th century. The site was excavated in 1880 by Nicolay Nicolaysen.


The Gokstad ship at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway
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Valkyrie
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2010, 01:30:45 pm »

The Gokstad ship is clinker-built, constructed largely of oak. The purpose of the ship was not intended for long voyages but intended for warfare, trade, and transportation of people and cargo. The ship is 23.24 m long and 5.20 m wide. It is the largest in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. The ship is steered by a quarter rudder which is fastened to a large block of wood attached to the outside of the hull and supported by an extra stout rib. The block is known as the wart and is fastened by osiers, knotted on the outside passed through both the rudder and wart to be firmly anchored in the ship. The ship was built to carry 32 oarsmen, and the oar holes could be hatched down when the ship was under sail. It utilized a square sail of c. 110 square meters, which, it is estimated, could propel the ship to over 12 knots. The mast could be raised and lowered. While the ship was traveling in shallow water, the rudder could be raised very quickly by undoing the fastening. Dendrochronological dating suggests that the ship was built of timber that was felled around 890 AD. The Gokstad ship was commissioned during the reign of Harald Fairhair at the end of the 9th century. The ship could carry a crew of 40 men but could carry a maximum of 70.[1]

The ship's design has been demonstrated to be very seaworthy. The Viking, an exact replica of the Gokstad ship, crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Bergen, Norway to be exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago during 1893. Other replicas include the Gaia, which currently has Sandefjord as its home port, and the Munin, (a half scale replica) located in Vancouver, BC.

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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 01:31:06 pm »

The skeletal remains
During the excavations, the skeleton of a male aged between 50-70 years was recovered. The skeleton was found in a bed inside a timber-built burial chamber. Although the identity of the person buried is unknown, it has been suggested that it is that of Olaf Geirstad-Alf, a petty king of Vestfold. He was of the House of Yngling, and died about this time, according to the Heimskringla.

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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010, 01:31:29 pm »

The grave goods
The grave was furnished with grave goods. Apart from the ship itself, they consisted of three small boats, a tent, a sledge and riding equipment. It is believed that the mound was plundered in ancient times. The excavation in 1880 showed that valuables of gold and silver had been removed. In the Viking period, weapons were considered an important part of a man's grave goods. In the case of the Gogstad ship, any such weapons were probably taken by grave robbers.

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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2010, 01:31:42 pm »

Currently the ship, the reconstructed burial chamber, two of the small boats and two tent boards from the burial chamber are displayed in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. Some other artifacts that survived the plundering are also on display in the museum.

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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2010, 01:32:29 pm »



Gogstad Viking ship excavation. Photographed in 1880
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2010, 01:32:52 pm »

The Gokstad ship in popular culture
The Gokstad is also the name of Thorvald's ship in the fictional tv-show named Viking Quest, known from the Entourage series on HBO.

[edit] Notes
^ T.D. Kendrick, A History of the Vikings(New York, NY: Frank Cass and Company, 1968), 24-26.
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2010, 01:33:29 pm »



Gokstad ship replica Viking at the World's Columbian Exposition Chicago in 1893
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