The Viking Ship Museum is Denmark’s museum for ships, seafaring and maritime crafts in prehistoric and medieval times. In collaboration with several other Danish museums, the Viking Ship Museum performs maritime archaeological investigations of ancient and medieval ship finds and maritime constructions along the Danish coasts and in Danish territorial waters.
One main field of activity is to investigate the development of various Scandinavian boat and ship types during ancient and medieval times. This work involves archaeological, historical and ethnological investigations as well as experimental archaeological projects in which ship reconstructions are built and the sailing characteristics of the ships subsequently tested.
Although our knowledge remains incomplete, we continue, in collaboration with other researchers at home and abroad, to learn more and more about where the ships were sailed and about their importance during various periods of history. The reconstruction of historic ships provides us with information on the materials and manpower necessary to build such ships – or even a complete armada – while sea trials provide evidence of the speed at which the boats of various periods could sail and of the distances travelled in them.
The Viking Ship Museum is a cross-disciplinary environment in which craftsmen, academics and seamen work together in order to discover more about maritime cultural heritage. An important source of inspiration for museum staff are the many visitors who visit our collections each year and participate in trips in our boats. Their fascination inspires us in our work and their questions about the collections and boats help point to new areas of research.