off to build a Viking longboat

I have just booked plane tickets to Oslo to help build a Viking longboat. Not just any longboat mind you this is a full size replica of the Oseberg boat, the most iconic surviving Viking ship.

The original is in the gorgeous Viking boat museum at Oslo and I visited in 2004. The boat, the artefacts and the museum building itself are all incredible. I was lucky enough to be shown around and taken round the reserve collection by Arne Emil Christensen who was curator at the time and more knowledgeable about Viking boats that pretty well anyone else. There is something about Viking carving that I find captivating, this was one of the great woodworking cultures of the world and I still find it inspirational.

In the 1980s they built a replica of this boat which sank on it’s maiden voyage, they raised it and sailed it carefully for a short while before it sank again. This lead some archaeologists to question whether ships in burials were actually working ships or whether they were constructed especially for the burial. The current project have scanned each timber and used computer modeling to reconstruct models of the ship, they now think that when archaeologists reconstructed the ship in the museum the shape was effectively altered making it unseaworthy. Testing of the new model in a wavetank suggests that it will sail very well.
This photo was taken 18th October and shows the current progress on the ship. The occasion was a visit by the Norwegian president, he was apparently quite skilled at hewing with an axe. I hope to have lots of photos to share of the worksite and maybe will return next year when the project is completed.

More details on the Oseberg replica site here 

8 Responses to off to build a Viking longboat

  1. Gorges Smythe November 7, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Best wishes for you and all the others on this project.

  2. David Cockey November 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    A page about the differences in shape between the original reconstruction and the new reconstruction can be found at

  3. Robin Wood November 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    Thanks David that's a good link.

  4. Louise November 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    That sounds really fantastic! How long are you going to be working i Norway?

  5. aHunkaHunkaBurningLove November 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Wow sounds like it will be a lot of fun. Are they going to make you work outside, in the winter time no less?

  6. Buttons In The Attic November 9, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    Soo jealous! I do Viking reenactments and I am so jealous!! Have a wonderful time–looking forward to following your progress!

  7. Robin Wood November 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I am just going for a few days Louise, I am in the middle of a very busy period but know if this ship gets built and I don't get to join in then I will regret it so dropping everything and flying out for a few days.We will be working outside, best place for hard physical work.No doubt I'll have nice pics to share.

  8. Woodsman Crafts November 9, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Wow, what a great experience. Have a good time over there.