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Viking Ship Burial Will Be Excavated in Norway

Monday, May 18, 2020

Gjellestad Viking ShipOSLO, NORWAY—Live Science reports that Sveinung Rotevatn, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, announced that the 65-foot Gjellestad ship will be excavated in order to protect what is left of it from being destroyed by fungus. The Viking ship, which was buried in a cemetery sometime between the late eighth century and the early tenth century, was discovered in southeastern Norway in 2018 through the use of ground-penetrating radar. Sigrid Mannsåker Gundersen of the Viken County Council thinks the ship may have once made long distance voyages under sail and rowing power. It has not yet been determined if the vessel had a mast. The fungus was detected during a test excavation in 2019. “Only the imprints of the planks—or ‘strakes’—were left, together with the iron nails. The only part that was still solid wood was the keel,” Mannsåker Gundersen said. The imprints, the brittle keel, and soil analysis could still offer researchers valuable information about the ship and the grave, he added. To read about another ship burial recently excavated on the Norwegian island of Edoya, go to "Sailing the Viking Seas."

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