Gokstad Ship

From Academic Kids


Missing image
Gokstad viking ship -excavation. Photographed in ~1880

The Gokstad was a Viking ship found in a King's burial mound in 1880 in an excavation led by Nicolay Nicolyasen. The ship was found at the Gokstad farm in Sandar, Sandefjord, Vestfold. The ship was built around 890 A.D. Later the ship was used in the ship burial of an important cheiftan who died in or around 900 A.D.. A guess about his identity is that he was Olaf Geirstad-Alf, a petty king of Vestfold, of the House of Yngling, who would have died about this time according to the Heimskringla.

The cheiftan whose burial ship was found in the Gokstad ship was most likely a powerful man in his 60's. He was found in his bed in a timber burial chamber. The cheiftan was buried with his grave furnishings which consisted of three small boats, a tent, a sledge and riding equipment.

It is believed that the mound was plundered in ancient times. Valuables of gold and silver had been removed. At the time, weapons were considered an important part of a Norwegian man's funeral. In the case of the Gokstad ship, these weapons were also most likely plundered, most likely by grave robbers.

Currently, the burial chamber, two of the small boats and two tent boards from the burial chamber are displayed in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. Some other artifacts that survived the plundering are on display in the museum.


The Gokstad ship was built of oak. The ship is twenty-four meters long by five meters wide. The Gokstad ship is the largest in the Viking ship Museum in Oslo, Norway. The ship was built to support 32 oarsmen. The oar holes couls be hatched down when the ship was under sail. The ship utilized a square sail of 110 square meters, which while being utilized could propel the ship at over 12 knots. Whilst the ship was traveling in shallow water, the rudder could be raised.

The ship was considered very seaworthy. A copy of the ship sailed the Atlantic from Bergen to the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Another copy of the ship, called Gaia, currently has Sandefjord as home port.

External links

nn:Gokstadskipet sv:Gokstadsskeppet


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