THE OSEBERG SHIP
Vikingskipsmuseet, Oslo, Norway
 
The Oseberg ship was discovered in a large burial mound at the Slagen farm in Vestfold. It was excavated in 1904.
 
Oseberg was built sometime between  815-820 A.D. In 834 it was used as a burial ship for a prominent woman ,who's identity has been a subject of speculation for some time. The woman was placed in a burial chamber in the aft section of the ship. Next to her lay the body of another woman, possibly a servant, as well as her most valuable possessions. The grave has been plundered, leaving it empty of the jewlery which would normaly be found in a wealthy womans grave.
 
The ship, built of oak, was 22 meters long and 5 meters wide. The 12 strakes were secured with iron nails. The ship was designed for both rowing and sailing. With a square sail of about 90 sq. m., it could reach speeds of over 10 knots. The top strake had 15 oar holes. A full set of oars was included in the grave furnishings. The rudder was placed aft and on the starboard side.
 
Under the ship was a thick layer of blue clay, while the mound itself was built up of turf. This explains the excellent state of preservation of the ship and the other objects of wood, leather and textiles.