28 March 2013


Nothing is going on, that I know of, in Norse Archaeology - it is still winter in the north country. Perhaps you happened by this blog from my website, where I peddle my Axe of Iron series of novels and discuss my life-long interest in the medieval Vikings, especially those who settled Greenland. In any case you must be interested in Vikings. Since I can't call an interesting dig to your attention, how about we take a look at the artistry and skill that still produces boats and ships that are as beautiful as a fine piece of furniture?  I refer to the beauty, functionality, and artistry of the end products from the Norse shipbuilding trades. Happily, for us, this tradition lives on throughout Scandinavia, but nowhere is the practice more prolific than the Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, Denmark, where a laudable tradition of Norse shipbuilding, using traditional methods, persists. I have been there, believe me it was worth the journey.

Video dialogue is in Danish; however, that does not detract from the video at all - they admirably demonstrate their skill sets.

Take a moment to carefully examine this photo of an eel drifter built there. Look at the fit and finish of the strakes the flowing lines aft of the stem and the boat is not even finished. Notice the beautiful lines from the keel and bilge strakes to what will be the sheer strakes near the top of the hull.

For those unfamiliar with the process, Norse boats and ships are built from the keel up, the final hull shape is achieved before the knees and other framing members are added, rather than the hull strakes being fixed to an inner framework - hence the battens from hull toward the building's rafters to maintain the desired hull shape. I believe the wood is oak.

Now examine the photos from the museum site. When your interest is peaked, go the museum website, where you will find much of interest. (Ed.)
Video and photos:

Museum website: