RAM Vikings – Viking ship frame

Roskilde 6 ship

Roskilde 6 ship

A really neat interactive exhibit at the Viking Exhibit from Denmark from the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) in May 2019 was a warship frame.

 

“The world’s longest Viking warship – Roskilde 6

The Roskilde 6 was excavated in 1996-97 in the Roskide Fjord, 25 miles from the Danish capital, Copenhagen. It turned out to be one of the most remarkable Viking ships ever found.

Because of the waterlogged conditions it was found in, 25% of the ship was still preserved, including parts of the long keel, (almost 105 feet) the hull, and the inner timbers. Growth rings in the timber show that the ship was made of oak from the Oslo Fjord region, felled around 1025 CE, and that it was repaired sometime after 1039 CE in the Baltic Sea.” 

… was the display that introduced this exhibit.

Further, they had a display that read:

A praise for the sea-warrior king

Destroyer of ships
you launched your ships when
only a boy, great warrior
no king younger than you
set off to war

(The Viking poet Ottar Svarte on king Cnut, early 11th century CE) 

The size and construction of the Roskilde 6 suggest that it was likely part of a royal fleet. At 37 m in length, the ship is the longest yet found. Only kings and earls could have afforded to build a ship of that size, especially one made of oak – the finest, most durable wood available. 

Canute the Great ruled the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, along with part of Sweden, from 995-1035 CE. During this reign, the Vikings truly ruled the North Sea. A fast fleet of warships carrying raiding parties helped secure Viking influence.

The Roskilde 6 was likely one of the warships in the royal fleet- the king’s most strategic means of power.

Roskilde 6 ship interactive display

Roskilde 6 ship interactive display

Another digital display discussed how many materials would have gone into a ship this size.

  • 23 oaks to make the planks, keel, and timbers
  • 50 pine trees to make the mast, yard, and oars
  • 10 willows went into the treenails
  • 4 ash trees created the oar-hole planks
  • 3 tons of iron ore and 130 tons of wood were needed to create the rivets
  • 4,500 branches of lime trees and 600 horses’ tails created the rope
  • 200 kg of sheeps’ wool went into the sail

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