The largest Viking ship ever found is coming to London, as part of a major exhibition that aims to expand the popular image of the Scandinavian plunderers, whose voyages took them as far as Asia and North America.
The Viking ships have been compared to the F16 of the Dark Ages – a technically advanced high speed war engine, that propelled the Norsemen across the seas, able to strike targets out of the blue at will.
The 1,000-year-old, 37-meter (120-foot) wooden longboat discovered on the banks of Roskilde, Denmark, (where the hugely popular Viking Ship Museum is today located)is the centerpiece of “Vikings: Life and Legend”, which opens at the British Museum in March.
The Vikings set out in ships like these from Scandinavia more than a millennium ago, traveling as far as Newfoundland and Morocco, and occupying territory from Greenland to Britain to France.
We all know that the Vikings have a violent reputation and the current Viking TV series from the History Channel, doesn’t do much to change this. However as Curator Gareth Williams from the British Museum points out:
“If your monastery is being burned down, you don’t take time to admire the beautiful jewelry won by the people burning down your monastery”.
The exhibits include richly decorated weapons and treasures such as the Vale of York Hoard, a collection of gold and silver objects found in northern England in 2007. William said the trove includes Irish jewelry and coins from Afghanistan and Uzbekistan – “the whole of the Viking world in one hoard.”
Williams said transporting the fragile remains of the Viking ship, whose ancient wooden beams are held in a modern steel frame, was surprisingly straightforward.
“As one might expect of a Scandinavian-designed ship, it comes flat-packed,” he said.
The largest Viking ship ever found sets its sight for the British MuseumSubscribe to newsletter