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Polaris of Enlightenment

Viking ship discovered in Norway

Published 26 April 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Archaeologists investigate a Viking burial site on Karmøy.

Another Viking ship has been found in a burial mound in Norway. This is the third ship discovery in the same vicinity and archaeologists believe that this may have been where the tradition of ship burials was first established.

At the Salhushaugen burial mound in Karmøy, Norway, archaeologists have found a new Viking ship. Norwegian archaeologist Haakon Shetelig excavated the same site in 1902 but was disappointed not to find a ship, as he had found a rich Viking ship grave nearby, but it now appears that Shetelig did not dig deep enough.

In June 2022, it was decided to start exploring the area again. This was done with the help of georadar, also known as ground penetrating radar. This method uses radio waves to map what lies beneath the surface of the ground. There they saw the outline of a ship.

– The georadar signals clearly show the shape of a 20-meter-long ship, says Håkon Reiersen, archaeologist at the Museum of Archaeology at the University of Stavanger, to forskning.no.

This is the third discovery of Viking ships on Karmøy. Previously, the Storhaug ship, which is dated to 770, and the Grønhaug ship, which is dated to 780, have been found. It has not yet been possible to date the new ship, but it is believed that it too is from the 7th century.

So far, no excavation has been carried out at the ship, but only examined via geo-radar. Archaeologists hope to conduct a small excavation soon to further investigate the ship and perhaps even date it, but it is not yet clear when an exploratory excavation will take place.

– What we have seen so far is just the shape of the ship. When we open up, we may find that not much of the ship has been preserved, says Reiersen.

The three Viking ship graves on Karmøy indicate that the first Vikings lived here and the Scandinavian tradition of ship burials was established there, says Reiersen.

– This is the area of the country where things happened in the early Viking Age. These are the oldest ship burials in Scandinavia. The Scandinavian tradition of ship burials was established here and then spread to other parts of the country, he says.

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