The Gokstad Ship
The Gokstad Ship (Wikimedia Commons)
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The Gokstad Ship was constructed c. 890. It is 23.80 metres long and 5.10 m wide. It was built to carry 32 oarsmen, and the oar holes could be covered when the ship was under sail. It would have carried a square sail of c. 110 square metres, which could propel the ship to over 12 knots.
The ship is clinker built, mostly from oak. There are 16 tapered planks each side. At the bow, the planks taper to butt the stem which is carved from a single curved oak log to form the cutwater. The inside of the stem is hollowed into a v shape so the inside of the rivets could be accessed during construction. Each crossbeam has a ledge cut about 25 mm wide and deep to take a removable section of decking.
In 1893 ‘Viking’, an exact replica of the Gokstad Ship, sailed from Bergen in Norway to America in order to be exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, thereby emphasising the fact that the Vikings reached America before Columbus!
Next Page: The Gokstad Ship Burial and its Finds