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1,000-year-old ship found underneath ground on Norwegian island

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1,000-year-old ship found underneath ground on Norwegian island
Edøy Old Church. Photo: Photo: kjelljoran/Creative Commons
13:53 CET+01:00
A ship likely to have built by the Vikings has been found by Norwegian researchers using georadar.

The vessel, which could also date from the pre-Viking era, was discovered in the western Møre and Romsdal county, NRK reports.

Climate minister Ola Elvestuen told the broadcaster that the discovery was of “both national and international significance”.

Archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) uncovered traces of the ship on the island of Edøy.

A high-resolution georadar “detected traces of a ship burial and a settlement that probably dates to the Merovingian or Viking Period at Edøy,” NIKU writes on its website.

Edøy is located on the shipping lane to Trondheim, close to where early king Harald Fairhair is said to have fought two sea battles, winning royal power in Norway in the late 800s.

“This is incredibly exciting. And again, it's the technology that helps us find yet another ship. As the technology is making leaps forward, we are learning more and more about our past,” Knut Paasche, head of the Department of Digital Archaeology at NIKU and an expert on Viking ships, said via the institute's website.

“It is too early to say something certain about the date of the ship, but we know that it is more than 1,000 years old,” Paasche told NRK.

Tove-Lise Torve, head of the Møre and Romsdal county administration, expressed her excitement about the discovery, which she did not happen by “chance”.

“This is not a chance discovery, but a result of systematic work,” Torve said via press release, in reference to a county-funded research and development project.

“Edøy is one of the key sites along the coastal pilgrimage trail, and we have planned to establish a regional coastal pilgrimage centre here for our county and (neighbouring county) Trøndelag. This discovery tells us that we have chosen the right place,” she added.

The remains of the ship are located just below the topsoil in an area where there was previously a burial mound, the institute writes on its website.

“The length of the keel indicates that the ship may have been a total of 16-17 meters long,” Paasche said.

In addition to the ship, the archaeologists also noted traces of settlements in the data, but are so-far yet to date these.

The georadar surveys at Edøy were conducted as a collaboration between Møre and Romsdal County, the local municipality Smøla, and NIKU.

READ ALSO: Norwegian Game of Thrones actor to make 'True Viking' reality show

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