The Gokstad ship was discovered in a large burial mound at the Gokstad farm in Sandar, Vestfold in 1880. The ship was built in 890 A.D. In 900AD, the boat was used for the burial of an important chieftain .
He was a powerfully built man in his 60's and was found laying in his bed in a timber burial chamber. The grave furnishings consisted of three small boats, a tent, a sledge and riding equipment. The burial mound was plundered like the Oseberg ship. Silver, gold and weapons were missing.
The Gokstad ship, built of oak, is 24 meters long , 5 meters wide and is the largest of the three ships in the museum. It could accomodate 32 oarsmen. The keel and mast step are sturdier than the Oseberg ships. The ship's sides are higher, with two strakes above the oar holes. The oar holes could be hatched down when the ship was under sail. Using a square sail of 110 sq. m., the ship could reach speeds of over 12 knots. The rudder could be raised when the ship was sailing in shallow water. 64 wooden shields (painted alternately black and yellow) were found during the excavations. These had been fastened on the outside of the ship's railing.
The preservation conditions in the Gokstad mound were as favourable as at Oseberg.