A Viking Queen: Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway.

By Posted in - Norway on August 22nd, 2013 Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

By Cacinda Maloney

Viking Ships, Norway

Viking Ships, Norway

My imagination runs wild as I try to envision Viking women aboard the majestic Oseberg ship with the waves crashing against it from the roughest seas in the fjords of Norway.  It is hard to believe that they could manage such an enormous creature.  Wide bottomed and massive, it must have taken a slew of men to keep this gigantic ship afloat during the horrific storms of these cold seas.  The Oseberg ship is 70 feet long and 16 feet wide.  It had a single square sail and fifteen pairs of oars.  The researchers estimate it could achieve a speed of up to 10 knots and was built in the first decades of the ninth century,  A.D. (It was determined that the ship dates from before the year 800 and that she was buried since 834). It is the world’s most complete ship ever found.

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Queen Asa, mother of Halfdan the Black and grandmother of Harald Fairhair, Norway’s first king, was buried with her ship along with her daughter (and/or) a slave, sacrificed to accompany her into the afterlife is other speculation.   The Queen was wearing a very fine red wool dress with a twill pattern known as a luxury commodity back in the 9th century and a fine white linen veil.  The younger woman wore a plainer blue wool dress with a wool veil.  One outfit included silk imported all the way from China. The opulence of the burial site and the goods buried along side them suggests that this was a burial of very high status.  A farmer discovered the ship in 1903 while he was digging in a mound on his farm. It was unearthed in 1904 by a Norwegian and a Swedish Archaeologist after a 5 month excavation.  The ship was so well preserved in a clay pit that it was entirely reconstructed and is now the centerpiece of the Viking Ship Museum in Bygdøy, near Oslo, Norway.  It was temporarily stored for years at the University of Oslo and took conservators twenty-one years to meticulously restore the ship using almost all of the original wood.

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Upon arrival into the museum, you will be awe struck at the massive size of this and the two other ships they have on display.  They are displayed in all their grandeur and you will truly enjoy a trip to this museum.

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Along with the ship, they also have artifacts that were discovered on the ships, which include everything from richly carved four-wheeled wooden carts to bed-posts, and wooden chests. More mundane items, such as agricultural and household tools were also found.

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

The bow of the ship has the most amazingly carved head of a serpent with the stern of the ship its tail.  It quite literally could have been the sea monsters people reported to have seen!

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

Oseberg Ship, Oslo, Norway

The Viking Ship Museum also has two other ships:  the Gokstad and the Tune ships.

Gokstad Ship, Oslo, Norway

Gokstad Ship, Oslo, Norway

The Gokstad is 76 feet long and 17 feet wide. It had 16 pairs of oars and a single square sail.  This longship looked more seaworthy than the Oseberg.  Archaeologists estimate up to seventy people could sail in it.  Like the Oseberg ship, it was a burial and contained the remains of an elderly man. It’s almost as well preserved as the Oseberg ship and was made around 890 A.D.

Gokstad Ship, Oslo, Norway

Gokstad Ship, Oslo, Norway

Both the Oseberg and the Gokstad were built using the clinker method where the oak planks overlap along the edges.  A single piece of oak was used to ensure the structural integrity of the keel. The length of the keel then determined the dimensions of the rest of the ship.  The invention of the keel is one of the key reasons for the Vikings maintained naval superiority for 250 years.  A keel allowed the ship to be rowed and sailed.

The third ship at the Viking Ship Museum is a 22-meter fragment of the Tune ship.  The incomplete state of this ship reminds me how remarkable the nearly complete finds of the Oseberg and Gokstad really were.

While in Oslo, Norway, the Viking Ship Museum is a must!

Disclosure:  My trip to Norway was courtesy of Visit Norway USA, however the opinions expressed here are all my own.


You may also like other posts on Norway:

Ovre-Holmegate, Stavanger, Norway’s Nottinghill

Shhh!  It’s a secret:  Emanuel Vigeland’s Mausaleum 

How I climbed Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) 

Ovre-Holmegate Stavanger, Norway’s Nottinghill

Edvard Munch:  What Makes you Scream?




(37) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Preikestolen, Norway - Reply

    August 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    […] You may also enjoy:  Viking Queen:  The Viking Museum in Oslo, Norway […]

  • Jeff Titelius - Reply

    August 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    A fascinating tale of the mighty Viking ship and its ultimate resting place! I wish I would have seen this on my journey to Norway! Next time! Fantastic photos my friend!
    Jeff Titelius recently posted…ArtSmart Roundtable: Norway’s Historic Stave ChurchesMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Yes, I do believe it is must see, I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was fascinating.

  • Amy | Club Narwhal - Reply

    August 26, 2013 at 5:47 am

    Wow, the details on that ship are amazing! I am always so impressed with the craftsmanship that went into structures like these. It looks like you learned a lot at this museum (you make me want to visit)!
    Amy | Club Narwhal recently posted…MICHIGAN MONDAYS | MEXICANTOWN DETROITMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      It was amazing and one of my number one recommendations when going to Oslo, Norway. Norway was an eye opener for me, I did not expect it to be so pristine and wonderful! Put it on the bucket list!

  • Irene S. Levine - Reply

    August 26, 2013 at 7:13 am

    You did a great job capturing the beauty of these vessels~

    • admin - Reply

      August 26, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks so much, it was a labor of love! It was fascinating!

  • Michele {Malaysian Meanders} - Reply

    August 26, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I would love to visit Norway sometime, and this museum would be high on my list. The carving on the bow is exquisite.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…The Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch of Kangaroo IslandMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Definitely don’t miss this museum, I loved it!

  • noel - Reply

    August 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

    what a fascinating museum, the details on the boats are striking, I love how you captured the beautiful etchings and highlights to the ships
    noel recently posted…Coastal hike along the Mendocino coastline,Travel Photo Mondays #9My Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Yes, Noel, it is fascinating and worth a trip there if you ever get a chance.

  • Mo - Reply

    August 27, 2013 at 6:20 am

    I like the way how you made a piece of this ship through your photography, great shots! Must have been a amazing experience as well to see an old ship such as this one!
    Mo recently posted…Photo Essay: Colourful Graffiti On Abandon BuildingMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      When you are standing there, in front of this majestic ship, you know, you just know the strength and power it had, as it cut through those waves, which makes you respect it. It was easy to get a good shot, as it tells its own story.

  • fotoeins | Henry - Reply

    August 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Your photos bring back great memories of visiting the great Vasa shipwreck housed in Stockholm’s Vasa Museet. As I have not yet been, Oslo and Helsinki are high on the list to complete my “quartet” of northern capitals. Thanks for your post!
    fotoeins | Henry recently posted…Planning a daytrip with Czech Rail: Praha to Kutná HoraMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      August 31, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Yes, it was amazing! It was so amazing to see these old ships and to imagine how they sail the seas. Would like to go to Stockholm’s Vasa Museum as well. I have not been there yet.

  • […] A Viking Queen: The Viking Museum, Oslo, Norway […]

  • […] A Viking Queen: The Viking Museum, Oslo, Norway […]

  • Christina - Reply

    September 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Beautiful ships! I’m amazed how well these were built and how elegantly they were designed. Thanks for the great photo tour!
    Christina recently posted…Rookwood Pottery Factory (& Bar?)My Profile

    • admin - Reply

      September 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      It is a must if you are ever in Oslo. I loved the ships too! They are so well preserved and amazing!

  • […] A Viking Queen: The Viking Museum, Oslo, Norway […]

  • Jacqui - Reply

    September 10, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Don’t the viking ships look like huge pieces of art? Such geometry!
    Jacqui recently posted…What’s Cooking Brendan Van Son? Photography Workshop in Ireland, New Travel Writing Forum…Food?My Profile

    • admin - Reply

      September 10, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Yes, they certainly do! Amazing that they were able to find them buried and reconstruct them from underneath the earth. They are beautiful!

  • Mary Jo Manzanares - Reply

    October 29, 2013 at 9:11 am

    The detailing on those ships are amazing – true works of art.
    Mary Jo Manzanares recently posted…Postcard from Belfast City HallMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      October 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      They literally are works of art from time past.

  • Henry | @fotoeins - Reply

    October 29, 2013 at 10:56 am

    This reminds me of the Vasamuseet (Vasa Museum) in Stockholm! I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised by that, nor by the fact that the Vikings had great ingenuity and naval/Atlantic superiority for an age, resulting (most likely) to be the first Europeans to set foot on North American soil. Reading your post is another reason to visit Oslo, and for me to complete my visits to the remaining Scandinavian capitals. Thanks for your post, Cacinda!
    Henry | @fotoeins recently posted…Fotoeins’ Favourite 5 in GermanyMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      October 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Yes, it is a must: Oslo and the Viking Ship Museum! I loved it and it sounds like you will too!

  • santafetraveler - Reply

    November 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Those Viking long boats are amazing!
    santafetraveler recently posted…Photo of the week: a November Santa Fe sunsetMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      November 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      They are! They are worth a trip to Oslo just to see them!

  • Cathy Sweeney - Reply

    November 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Those ships have always amazed me. Must have been quite a ride! I’d love to see them in person. Interesting history of Queen Asa and the royal family.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted…How to Take Ghostly Travel PhotosMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      November 5, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Yes Cathy, it is a must see while in Oslo, I loved it!

  • Kristin Henning - Reply

    November 12, 2013 at 4:20 am

    Thanks for adding this to the history link-up. Sounds amazing and I enjoyed your photos. I got to see the Canoe Museum in Ontario just after the TBEX conference in Toronto. Wonderful site for this part-Viking girl.
    – Kris
    Kristin Henning recently posted…Crucifix, Cathedral, Toledo, SpainMy Profile

    • admin - Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Totally worth a visit to Oslo, just to see this!! Loved it!

  • Suzanne Fluhr (Boomeresque) - Reply

    November 23, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Looking at how low the side of the ship is, it is hard to imagine these ships ranging fat and wide over the tempests of the northern sera, including the north Atlantic. I’ve been to Copenhagen and Helsinki. Oslo and Stockholm remain on my bucket list.
    Suzanne Fluhr (Boomeresque) recently posted…Our Peruvian Honeymoon — 1982My Profile

    • admin - Reply

      November 24, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      I know, it is amazing that they were seaworthy. Oslo is certainly worth a trip and a city that is easy to get around in.

  • Welcome new member Cacinda Maloney - Reply

    July 23, 2014 at 11:19 am

    […] his craft while in a Nazi concentration camp, batek art in Malaysia and the funeral ship of a Viking queen.  In her own words, her niche is “value luxury (getting) the most from…travel dollars by […]

  • […] The Viking Ship Museum:  This place is wonderful and a MUST SEE for any visit to Oslo.  You will want to spend time wandering around and learning the history of these Nordic vessels and its’ famous lady ship captains. It is one of my most read articles, and you can read it here. […]

  • […] about that below!). However, there is an absorbing history to find out about first. The Viking Ship Museum is home to the Oseberg, which is the world’s best preserved…you’ve guessed it, Viking ship. […]

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