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The Oseberg Ship– Reconstruction of Form and Function

by Dr Vibeke Bischoff

I am so very proud of this – last year, I had the pleasure of working closely with Dr Vibeke Bischoff – probably the world’s only female Viking ship reconstructor – on the translation and reworking of her PhD research into: The Oseberg Ship – Reconstruction of Form and Function – a project that has completely changed our understanding of the trajectory of Viking ships construction and how they were – and are – sailed.

This was a “hjertebarn” – a translation project so very close to my heart, my sailing and my archaeological background.

The Oseberg Ship from AD 820 is the world’s best-preserved Viking-Age ship-find, lavishly decorated with carvings on its bow and stern. It is the oldest Nordic ship-find with clear traces of sail and rigging. Yet, ever since 1904 when it was excavated in a burial mound in Tønsberg, Norway, it has been considered a frail vessel, a non-sailing symbol of power and wealth.

The Oseberg Ship – Reconstruction of Form and Function presents a thorough re-analysis of the vessel to determine its construction and sailing performance as well as a completely new reconstruction. The new full-scale reconstruction reveals that the Oseberg Ship was a well-crafted, strong construction. The Oseberg Ship was not only a magnificent symbol of power and wealth, but also a unique sailing ship – a decisive representative of Nordic shipbuilding and seafaring in the Viking Age.

Order your copy here.

(Photos: The Oseberg Ship – Reconstruction of Form and Function, Dr Vibeke Bischoff and myself, sailing The Sea Stallion from Glendalough - the world's largest reconstructed Viking longship - home from Ireland to Denmark.)

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