Viking Gokstad Ship is Sinking

Posted by Ms Elly on

Viking Gokstad Ship is Sinking 

The past two years mark important events for those who are interested in the Viking archaeology: discovery of Viking ship by georadar and small excavation to examine the condition of the ship. But we have to hear bad news from the archaeologists as well: Gokstad is showing disturbing movements and it is sinking.

In the spring, the Museum of Cultural History carried out three-dimensions scans of the whole ship. The scan results were used to compare with those from 2013. The researchers found out some alarming problems in the past few years with the ship:

  • The strakes by the bow and the stern posts are moving towards the centre part of the ship. 
  • The upper strakes at the centre of the ship are moving outwards. 
  • The underside is moving towards the floor. 

Viking ship Gokstad

3D scan results of the Gokstad ship. The red field means the parts are falling outward while the blue ones present these parts are falling towards the center of the ship. 

5 millimetres of movements have been recorded for the last five years. The museum director said there might be some reasons for these changes. But they are likely to agree with the point that Gokstad ship is not supported properly. 5 millimetres sound an inadequate number, yet, it becomes a nightmare for the archaeologists. 

Temperature fluctuations, variable air humidity, as well as vibration from the floor are considered the reasons as well. The supporting structure providing an uneven weight load also caused the ship to crack. 

Viking Gokstad ship

Viking Gokstad ship 

By far, the archaeologists and scholars are yet to find out any solutions to the problems. More discussions are still on the way. 

It has become an urgent matter to be solved because Gokstad has become not only the Viking Age ship but also an iconic Norweigian as well. 

Gokstad ship was built around the ninth century and until the 1880s it was finally unearthed in Gokstad farm. Gokstad ship was a sacrificial ship in the burial mound of a Viking warrior who died a brutal death with many cuts on his bones. Back to the Viking Age, only those who were wealthy and held a high social status could have for themselves such luxury of the burial mound. 

Gokstad ship burial mound

Modern reconstruction of the Gokstad ship burial mound 

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