Viking ships of Roskilde

The present ARCHAEO-Crush counts for the months of March and April (again I find I have so little free time). It is an interesting group of Danish artefacts from a museum in Roskilde.

VIKING SHIPS OF ROSKILDE

Type: artefact (wooden ship remains)
Civilisation: Scandinavia, Middle Ages, Viking era, 793-1066
Date: 11th century

ARCHAEO-Crush: The remains of the viking ships at the museum in Roskilde were discovered in Roskilde Fjord, in a sailing channel between Peberrenden and Skuldelev. The five ships were deliberately sunk during the 11th century to create a barrier to  defend the most direct route to Roskilde.  The remains represent five different types of vessels.  Skuldelev 1 is a large ocean-going trader use to transport cargo on high seas (think North Sea, Baltic Sea and even North Atlantic Ocean). While it is impossible to know who owned it, this type of vessel was used by merchants and chieftains on trading expeditions.  Dendrochronology indicates that it dates to 1030.  Skuldelev 2 is a large warship dating to 1042 and built near Dublin, Ireland (a Viking settlement called Dubh Linn founded the 9th century, where a much older Celtic village already existed according to the Greek astronomer Claudius Ptolemaeus, author of synthesis of geographical knowledge of the Graeco-Roman world). The crew of this type of longship counted 65-70 men and the vessels belonged to chieftains whose exploits are celebrated in Scandinavian sagas. In comparison, Skuldelev 3 is a much smaller vessel. It is a trading ship used on the Danish coast and the Baltic Sea for the transport of goods or people. The vessel was powered by wind with the use of the sail, but, in very calm weather and on short distances, the oars could be used as well. There isn’t a Skuldelev 4 because the remains thought to be a fourth vessel turned out to be part of Skuldelev 2. So we go directly to Skuldelev 5, which is also a longship albeit a small one–its  crew was only 30 men .  This type of warship had 13 pairs of oars and was the smallest in a war fleet.  As for the last ship, Skuldelev 6 was a fishing boat. Originally built in Norway with pine, the boat was modified with oak and  birch and transformed into a simple transport boat, manned by a small crew.

Bucket list status: I have seen these fabulous ships on a day trip to Roskilde after a conference in Copenhagen. I would have loved to sail on one of the replicas of these ships. There is one for each of the boats in the MuseUm Habour! At least I got to board on Sea Stallion from Glendalough, the replica of Skuldelev 2, the large warship.

Additional information: You will find additional information for each of the ships on the museum’s website, Vikingeskibs Museet: size, draught, speed, crew, number of oars and even place of construction! (And more!)  All you have to do is click on the blue links in the main section above. Be sure to read the Education section of the ‘Professions’ tab of the site for even more details.