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'Viking ship' discovered in Sweden's largest lake

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18:27 CEST+02:00
Marine archaeologists in Sweden have discovered what they believe to be the wreck of a Viking ship at the bottom the country's largest lake.

A team of 50 divers from the Swedish coastguard happened upon the 20-metre long wreck by chance on Wednesday afternoon.

"Never before has a Viking shipwreck been found in Swedish waters," marine archaeologist Roland Peterson from the Vänern Museum told The Local.

A few Viking boats have previously been discovered in Sweden, but earlier finds were made on dry land, Peterson explained.

One of the ship's ribs was discovered protruding from the bottom of the lake, while the rest of the boat was filled with a one metre-thick layer of sediment.

A wood sample from the ship, as well as iron samples from a spear and a sword found with the vessel, are to undergo expert analysis over the coming weeks.

"We can't be sure of anything until we get the dating results back, which could take around a month. But the sword did seem semi-familiar," said Peterson, referring to the weapon's apparent similarity to earlier Viking era finds.

The ship's clinker-built structure also strengthened the hypothesis that the vessel found in the Lurö archipelago, in the middle of Lake Vänern, dates from the Viking era. Vänern is Europe's third largest lake, with an area measuring 5,648 square kilometres.

The Swedish coastguard and the Vänern Museum are currently involved in a joint project to discover and examine shipwrecks lodged at the bottom the vast lake.

Six other wrecks have also been discovered within a 100 metre radius, three of which were found lying almost on top of each other.

"But it's too early to say whether these date from the same era," said Peterson.

The Viking Age marked the end of the Scandinavian Iron Age and spanned the period from the eighth to the eleventh century.

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