The Skuldelev ships

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The five Skuldelev ships

The later years of the 11th century were tough and troubled times. The Vikings therefore established a series of blockades in Roskilde Fjord to protect Roskilde, the then capital of Denmark, against attack by sea.

The five ships on display in the Viking Ship Hall were scuttled to form a blockade in the Peberrende, a natural channel in Roskilde Fjord near Skuldelev, some 20 km north of Roskilde. That is why they are known as the Skuldelev ships.

They were excavated from the sea bed in 1962. The blockade was surrounded by iron sheet piling and the site then drained. In less than four months, the five ships were successfully excavated in thousands of pieces. There then remained the colossal task of conserving the timber fragments and, not least, of assembling all the pieces of the jigsaw to recreate five Viking ships.

The find contained five different ship types, which together provide a unique impression of Viking shipbuilding skills and craftsmanship.

 

The way in which the Skuldelev ships may have been scuttled. Watercolour by Flemming Bau.

The way in which the Skuldelev ships may have been scuttled. Watercolour by Flemming Bau.

The excavation of the Skuldelev ships in 1962 generated considerable interest. About 30,000 people visited the site.

The excavation of the Skuldelev ships in 1962 generated considerable interest. About 30,000 people visited the site.

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Vikingeskibsmuseet: Vindeboder 12 . DK-4000 Roskilde | Tlf.: +45 46 300 200 | museum(at)vikingeskibsmuseet.dk | vikingeskibsmuseet.dk

 

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