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'Viking ship' discovered in Sweden's largest lake

Paul O'Mahony · 8 May 2009, 18:27

Published: 08 May 2009 18:27 GMT+02:00

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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.

Story continues below…

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.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

11:38 May 9, 2009 by Benzed
I love this stuff. The lack of authentic viking heritage in Sweden has been a bane of my existence here. Amon Amarth alone cannot keep Sweden true.
18:44 May 9, 2009 by yaguei

Although the Christianization of America had been done by Scadinacians in the tenth century the holocaust that Native America endured in the XVI century and still does had been not much different given the R.C.Church proceeds to "convert" people as we can read in the link above.
19:11 May 9, 2009 by Greg in Canada
Cool. I'm a wreck diver myself, having done hundreds of wreck dives in the Great Lakes, but never anything this old. I'd imagine the wreck itself is nothing but a bunch of boards, but there could be some interesting historical artifacts in the area. I would imagine that this site is now off limits to the general dive population?
00:20 May 10, 2009 by Nemesis
Hello Greg,

The wreck should be off limits to all.

ONLY archeologists should have access to it to study it properly at present.

To much or our European history and culture has been destroyed. This should be preserved.
05:48 May 10, 2009 by Greg in Canada
It's the same thing over here. A new undiscovered wreck is supposed to be reported to the authorities and it then becomes a "national museum property".

My wife and I are advanced divers and have taken special courses on under water archeology. There has been a new War of 1812 Lake Ontario wreck discovered near Kingston recently. We might ask if they need dive volunteers to help with the excavation.
07:32 May 10, 2009 by Joemath
The next question involves the artifacts proximate to the ship.
08:24 May 10, 2009 by Jhomu
Hej all,

1. COULD THIS SHIP HAVE BEEN EVOLVING UNDER THE LAKE? To say yes would be utter foolishness, because the wood used came from the forest, the Iron used was mined, melted and made into the desired shape. This confirms lack of evidence for Evolution or the theory of the Big Bung.

2. To claim that there is a designer would make sense because someone must have cut wood from an Oak-tree, shaped it and made the ship. Someone also mined Iron-ore, melted it and made the metal pieces that made-up the ship.

I am happy that science is proving Evolution to be a MYOPIC BELIEF

08:45 May 10, 2009 by Muttlestar Galactica
10:59 May 10, 2009 by Taz Mania
Interesting Find.

What on earth are you writing about Jhomu? Evolution? Va?
11:06 May 10, 2009 by Jamtjim
Jhonnah what are you going on about? If you want a debate regarding the relative merrits of Evoluationary Theorey vs Intelligent Design, why dont you start a new thread about it?

I think its great this ship has been found and it should be protected so that we can learn all we can from it. Anyone stealing or damaging the wreck should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law...
10:49 May 11, 2009 by Grass
"Never before has a Viking shipwreck been found in Swedish waters," marine archaeologist Roland Peterson from the Vänern Museum told The Local.

What the hell was the Vasa then? or is the Vasa deemed as being "after" the Viking age?
12:33 May 11, 2009 by Jamtjim
Yes Grass. The vasa was about 600 years after the viking age...
12:36 May 11, 2009 by Mzungu

....also as with this one and many more....

15:35 October 21, 2011 by HunleyFinder
I like it because it was another "accidental" discovery. I put accidental in quotes, because although they were "amateur" divers (members of the Swedish Coast Guard) and not professional archaeologists, they recognized the wreck's potential importance and reported it so archaeologists could properly study it. I have been saying for years that the bulk of all discoveries are made by non-archaeologists and we need to encourage them, not discourage them. In some cases, amateurs (in the sense they don't do archaeology for a living) actually know more than the professionals.
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