Wednesday September 15th 2021 has become another important date in our calendar of major events: That was the day when we laid down the keel for what will become an archaeological replica of the Gokstad ship!
Under leading boat builder Jan Vogt Knutsen´s competent leadership, some 20 “osebergians” and others lifted the 750 kilos heavy keel into its building cradle, then to let out an unison cheer of relief and excitement. We had taken the first step towards what will become a replica of Vestfold´s third – and largest – Viking ship, Gokstad. Regardless of the fact that no other Viking ship has been copied more often than Gokstad, this is the first time a real archaeological replica will be built, based on new measurements and scans of the original. This includes large pieces of wood too damaged by time to be remounted when the original was restored. Thanks to our friends at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, we were given access also to this material.
As was the case when we built our Oseberg replica, new drawings have been made by Vibeke Bischoff at the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum. The drawings represent a huge investment for our small foundation, but are paramount to ensure the best possible result.
The laying of the keel started when Viking lure blower Arne Petter Ødelund called for assembly, then followed by Viking-type throat-singing by Elfi Sverdrup. Chairman Einar Chr. Erlingsen related some of the main achievements since the building of the Oseberg replica during the years 2010-2012:
“It is said that there are no longer any shipyards in our part of the country. Nothing could be more wrong. For the last 11 years we have operated the only permanent Viking shipyard in Norway at this very spot,” he said.
He then went on to relate some major events, like building the Oseberg and Klastad ships, several smaller boats, the Oseberg wagon and bed, etc.
He ended his speech by thanking the sponsors, after which boat builder Jan called the audience to assemble around the 17.5 meters long keel. And presto, it found its firm and secure place within its building cradle. Here we go again!