The excavation of the Gjellestad Ship in underway

Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn (Liberal Party)Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn (Liberal Party).Photo: Fredrik Hagen / NTB scanpix

For the first time in over a 100 years, a viking ship will be excavated in Norway. The Minister of Climate and Environment, Sveinung Rotevatn(V) has received the honor of turning the first sod at the groundbreaking ceremony. 

It will take around five months for the archaeologists to complete the excavation of the Gjellestad Ship. 

The rest of the ship was found in 2018 on the Jellestad Farm which is located outside of Halden. It is the most extraordinary archaeological find in Norway in the post war period. 

The ship is roughly the same size as the Gokstad Ship and the Oseberg Ship. The remnants of the ship suggests that it was between 23 and 24 meters long in its original state.

Extra resources from the government

In a revised National budget, the government has allocated 15.6 million towards the excavation. Last year’s excavation showed that the shipyard  is in danger of breaking down, and thus is important to begin with the excavation before it is too late. 

-” The Gjellestad Ship is of unparalleled national and international significance, said The Minister of Climate and Environment, Sveinung Rotevatn. 

Last year’s investigations show that the ship’s keel is intact, but it is heavily infested by fungi. The cause for the degradation is the decrease in groundwater levels. This allows oxygen to penetrate all the way down to the keel of the ship. 


-” The find is very vulnerable to human interference and change in climate. We also know that it is  continuous deterioration. It was therefore necessary for the government to provide a special grant to stop the deterioration and to secure the find and the potential for knowledge as swiftly as possible.”, said the Minister.

A total of three viking ship graves have been found in the country. The last one was found to be made over 100 years ago when the Oseberg Ship was found at Tønsberg in 1904. The Gokstad Ship was discovered at Sandefjord in 1880, while the Tune Ship was found at Fredrikstad in 1867. 

The Gjellestad Ship has been dated and the earliest it could have been built is in the year 773 A.D., buit is most likely from the early Viking Age. 

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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