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22.11.2020

Oseberg Ship, Oslo

The ship Oseberg is a well-preserved Viking ship found in a large barrow on the Oseberg farm near Tonsberg in Westfall County, Norway . This ship is considered one of the best surviving artifacts from the Viking Age. The ship and part of its contents are exhibited in the Viking Ship Museum in Byugdey on the western side of Oslo, Norway . 

Kurgan Oseberg contains two female human skeleton as well as a large number of serious goods . The burial of the ship in the mound dates from 834 AD, but parts of the ship date from around 800 AD, and the ship itself is considered older. It was excavated by the Norwegian archaeologist Haakon Shetelig and the Swedish archaeologist Gabriel Gustafson in 1904-1905.

The ship is a carve, clinker is almost entirely built of oak. Its length is 21.58 meters (70.8 feet), width is 5.10 meters (16.7 feet), and the mast height is approximately 9-10 meters (30-33 feet). With the sails of gr. 90 square meters (970 square feet), the ship could reach speeds up to 10 knots. The ship has 15 pairs of holes for oars, which means that the ship can row 30 people. Other equipment includes a wide steering oar, iron anchor, gangway and bucket. The bow and stern of the ship are skillfully decorated with intricate carving in the characteristic "grab beast" style, also known as the Oseberg style .

During the debate on whether the original ship should be moved to the new proposed museum, thorough research was conducted on the possibility of moving the ship without damaging it. During this process, very thorough photographic and laser scans were made both outside and inside the ship.

In 2004, an attempt was made to build a copy of the Oseberg ship. Collective efforts of Norwegian and Danish professional builders, scientists and volunteers made this new attempt: scanned photos and laser scanners were provided free of charge to builders' enthusiasts. During this new attempt, it was discovered that during the initial reconstruction of the ship, a hole was made in one of the beams and therefore the ship was accidentally shortened. This fact has not been evaluated before. It is believed that this is probably the main reason why several earlier replicas failed: previous attempts to create working replicas failed due to lack of correct data.

In 2010, began a new reconstruction, called "Saga Oseberg". This newest ship Oseberg was successfully built of wood from Denmark and Norway and using traditional Viking construction methods. On June 20, 2012 the new ship was launched from the city of Tönsberg. The vessel sailed very well and in March 2014 it was launched into the open sea, sailing to Förder on all its sails. The speed of 10 knots was reached. The construction was successful, the vessel was working very well. This showed that the Oseberg ship could indeed sail and was not just a burial chamber on land.

Skeletons of two women were found in the grave with the ship. One, probably at the age of about 80 years, suffered greatly from arthritis and other diseases. Originally it was thought that the second age was 25-30 years old, but analysis of the opacity of the roots of the teeth suggests that she was older (aged 50-55 years). It is unclear which one was more important in life and whether one was sacrificed to accompany the other in death. The young woman had a broken collarbone, which was originally considered to be proof that she had been sacrificed. but a closer look revealed that the bone had been healing for several weeks. The richness of the funeral rite and inventory suggests that this burial was of a very high status. One woman was wearing a very thin red woolen dress with a diamond-shaped twill pattern (a luxury item) and a thin white linen veil with a gauze weave, while another was wearing a simpler blue woolen dress with a woolen veil, which perhaps demonstrates some stratification in their clothing. None of the women wore anything entirely silk, although small silk strips were glued to a tunic worn under a red dress.

Dendrochronological analysis of logs in the tomb dates back to the burial in autumn 834. Although the identity of the high-ranking woman is unknown, it has been suggested that she is Queen Asa of the Ingling clan, mother of Halvdan Black and grandmother Harald Fairheir . Recent research on the remains of women shows that they lived in Agdere in Norway, as did Queen Asa. However, this theory has been questioned, and some think that she might have been a shaman. The remains of 14 horses, a bull and three dogs were also found on the ship.

According to Per Holck of the University of Oslo, the mitochondrial haplogroup of a young woman was U7 . Her ancestors arrived in Norway from the Black Sea coast, probably from Iran. However, three subsequent studies have not confirmed these results, and it is likely that the bone samples contain little (if any) original DNA or were contaminated by handling.

Studies of skeletal fragments allowed a better understanding of their lives. On the teeth of a young woman were signs that she used a metal toothpick, a rare luxury of the IX century. Both women ate mostly meat, which was another luxury when most Vikings ate fish. However, the DNA was not enough to tell if they were related, for example, to the Queen and her daughter.

The grave was broken back in ancient times, there were no precious metals. Nevertheless, during the excavations of 1904-1905, there were no precious metals. It was found a large number of household items and artifacts. They included four skillfully decorated sleds, a four-wheeled wooden cart with rich carvings, bed racks and wooden chests, as well as the so-called "Buddha-bøtte", an ornament of a bucket of brass and partitions enamel. (bucket) handle in the form of a figure of sitting with crossed legs. The bucket is made of yew, fastened with brass ribbons, and the handle is attached to two anthropomorphic figures in comparison with the images of a Buddha in the lotus pose, although any connection is highly questionable. Of greater importance is the connection between the enamel drawing of the torso and similar human figures in the books of the Gospel in the island art in the British Isles, such as the Darrow books. More down-to-earth objects, such as agricultural and household tools, have also been found. A number of fabrics included woolen clothing, imported silks and narrow tapestries. The Oseberg Cemetery was one of the few sources of Viking Age textiles, and the wooden wagon was the only fully found Viking Age wagon. The bedpost shows one of the few examples of the use of what has been called a rolling symbol.

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