The five Viking ships - The Skuldelev Ships

During the late Viking Age, a system of barriers are established on Roskilde Fjord, making it possible to control the sea routes to one of Denmark's great royal and ecclesiastical cities.

Three worn-out ships are towed out to the narrowest point, just outside the village of Skuldelev. The ships are filled with stones and sunk in the sailing channel Peberrenden, which is the most direct route to Roskilde. After twenty years, the barrier is reinforced with two more ships. An effective defence system is created.

A thousand years later an iron cofferdam is driven into the seabed around the barrier. One of the most significant excavations in Denmark can begin.

The Viking Ship Hall

The oldest part of the Museum, the Viking Ship Hall, is constructed as a showcase around the five Viking ships, found in Roskilde Fjord. Together, they provide a unique perspective on Viking Age maritime culture: shipbuilding, seamanship, trade, defence and warfare - and the ability to journey far and wide and explore new horizons.

A raw architectonic simplicity enhances the ship's lines and aesthetic. And a giant window and sweeping views over the fjord creates a background, that are connecting the ships to the water, once again. The experience is undisturbed and gives room for immersion and fantasy.

The permanent exhibitions unfolds this historically diverse and illustrative find: What were the ships used for a thousand years ago? Which role did they play in the Viking Age society? And how was life on board?

The five Viking ships from Skuldelev

Skuldelev 1

The ocean-going cargo ship

Skuldelev 1 is large ocean-going cargo ship from Sognefjord in western Norway. The ship is built of heavy pine planks, and has a rounded form that gives it a high loading capacity and great seaworthiness on the North Atlantic.

Skuldelev 2

The great long ship

Skuldelev 2 is a war machine, built to carry many warriors at high speed. With a crew of 65-70 men, it was a chieftain's ship, like those praised in ancient scaldic verse and sagas.

Skuldelev 3

The coastal trader

Skuldelev 3 is a small, elegant and sturdy trading ship, built for transporting goods in Danish coastal waters and the Baltic. The ship is the best preserved of the five Viking ships found in Roskilde Fjord, and was built of Danish oak. 

Skuldelev 5

The small longship

Skuldelev 5 is one of the smallest long ship in a war fleet, and is ideal for sailing in Danish coastal waters and through the short, choppy waves of the Baltic.

Skuldelev 6

The fishing boat

Skuldelev 6 is a fishing boat, built in the Sognefjord area in western Norway - at the same time and place as the ocean-going trader Skuldelev 1

[Translate to english:] Udgravning af Skuldelevskibene i 1962

The excavation

The miracle from Roskilde Fjord

60 years ago, one of the most ground-breaking archaeological excavations in the history of Denmark began when the newly found Viking ships had to rise from the bottom of Roskilde Fjord.