Viking Ship Excavations Soon to be Underway
Recently, funds were allocated by the Norwegian government to excavate a Viking ship. If it's not conserved soon, a fungus will eat away at what little remains.
In 2018, ground-penetrating radar in Jellestad, Norway, uncovered not only burial mounds and five longhouses dating to Viking times, but also a buried ship. Intrigued, in 2019, archaeologists excavated the site, which is near the famous “Jell Mound” (named after the Viking king Jell), and uncovered the ship’s intact keel. Further study of the oak planks—and analysis of the ship’s design—dates it to 603-724 AD.
Historians believe that the 65-foot-long ship, which lies only 20 inches beneath the surface of a field, was used as the resting place of a royal personage and may have formed the centerpiece of a Viking-era cemetery at the site.
Unfortunately, the archaeologists discovered that a drainage ditch that had been cut into the field 70 years ago had kept the soil around the ship so damp that the most of the ship's wood has since fully decomposed. The only part still left intact is the keel, and its wood was infected with a fungus that is swiftly eating away at it.
In May 2020, the Norwegian government allocated $1.5 million for this important excavation, which is slated to begin in June 2020.
Check out a video of the site and the radar mapping process.