Research project on use of osiers

Thanks to a grant of NOK 25,000 from the Oseberg Fund, we can now go ahead with our research project around the use of osiers in Viking ships.

Osiers. Photo: Vest-Agder Museum
ResearchOsiers. Photo: Vest-Agder Museum

While ship hull and ribs were lashed to each other by using strips of whale baleens in the Oseberg ship, osiers were used for the Gokstad. Osiers are root shots from trees, often birch, and a very strong material. Its use was common in earlier times, and for a number of purposes; from lashing cargo to ski bindings. But as it was being replaced by more modern material, its production and use was more or less forgotten. This is knowledge we now require when building our Gokstad replica.

The Oseberg Fund was established in 1988 by Elisabeth Clausen, daughter of Oseberg excavator Gabriel Gustafson. The fund´s main purpose is to protect cultural heritage and work techniques through knowledge and understanding.

“This time the fund chose to support our project, for which we are extremely grateful,” says chair Einar Chr. Erlingsen.

A planning group consisting of Lars Bill, Ole Harald Flåten and Jan Vogt Knutsen will prepare for both a seminar and a course in the practical use of osiers in a maritime environment, as well as seek to establish a network for sharing information and experience.