A 1,000-year-old Viking ship found buried on a Norwegian island

Authorities in a Norwegian county announced that a 1000 year old Viking ship was found buried on the same island where the same ship had been found six months earlier.


An astonishing first discovery.

The news of the discovery of the boat in Edøya made headlines around the world last fall. The archaeologists have now completed their review of all the ground-penetrating radar data from the resulting study.


Never heard of Edøya? It’s not a big surprise, as the island is only 7.5 km² in size. Yet this small island in Møre og Romsdal county in Norway was an important centre of power during the Viking era. Like its large island neighbours Smøla, Ertvågsøya and Tustna, Edøya is now sure to be in the spotlight as never before.

A second Viking ship grave.

The data show the footprint of another Viking ship, in addition to the remains of two houses and five mounds overgrown with vegetation. This discovery could improve our understanding of the history of the Vikings of Norway.

Manuel Gabler, from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), explains: « During the interpretation of the data, we discovered a circular structure. In the middle of this structure we see an irregularity 7.3 metres long and about 1 metre wide. Although the grave is considerably smaller than the first discovery, it cannot be described as small. Knut Paasche of NIKU explains: « If a 7.3-metre-long anomaly represents the bottom of a boat and the pathways at the top of the boat have rotted, the original boat will have been a few metres longer. It is likely that it would have taken four pairs of oars ».

Tumulus and remains of dwellings

In this report, archaeologists have revealed more of Edøya’s secrets. To the north of the ship’s grave, another round anomaly appears, although without a ship’s structure. The team believes that this fragmented anomaly is where a burial mound was plowed.

Approximately 50 metres further north, the ground-penetrating radar data revealed traces of two other graves, 11 and 19 metres in diameter. Two other anomalies to the northwest of the ship’s grave appear to be remains of houses. The County Curator, Bjørn Ringstad, thinks that the houses and boat graves may well have come from different periods.

A center of power in the Viking Age.

 » This helps to strengthen our impression of Edøya as a centre of power in the Viking age, » said Bjorn Ringstad, County Curator for Møre og Romsdal, in a press release.

Mr. Ringstad said that the burial of Viking ships was part of a funeral tradition for the wealthiest members of a community. « They would take a boat or a rowboat with them to their grave, » he said. Based on the findings of the report, further archaeological research in and around the area is likely.