In what Norway is calling a “historic day,” archaeologists using ground-penetrating radar say they have found what appears to be a Viking ship buried in an area known for Viking treasures.
Archaeologists say there are no immediate plans for excavation of the ship, found in Vestfold county, but further non-invasive research will be conducted to map the remains and learn more about the ship’s condition, according to the Associated Press.
The ship burial — where a vessel is used as a tomb high-ranking officials — was found in the Borre burial mounds, considered one of Norway’s most important cultural heritage sites, Terje Gansum, Vetsfold county spokesman, said Monday.
“The [geo-radar] data clearly show the shape of a ship, and we can see weak traces of a circular depression around the vessel,” said Gansum in a statement reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP). “This could point to the existence of a mound that was later removed.”
Gansum said Viking-era (793–1066 AD) ships are always at least 15 meters (49 feet) long.
Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen called the discovery a “historic” moment during a press conference. “This is a new find that will be noticed throughout the world. In the past, fifteen ship finds from the Viking Age were found in Europe. In Norway, seven discoveries have been made, three of which are in Vestfold,” he said in a statement.
Ground-penetrating radar (or geo-radar) technology, which has been instrumental in a recent discovery of another buried Viking ship, helped spot historic find in Borre, an area known for Viking heritage.
In 2018, archaeologists also found a well-preserved Viking ship burial using georadar in farmland in Østfold county in south-east Norway.
As with this recent find, researchers in 2018 worked with motorized high-resolution ground-penetrating radar developed by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria.
Archaeologists are optimistic about the potential of the non-intrusive technology in future projects. Project leader and archaeologist Lars Gustavsen of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (Niku) said: “It really shows the potential of this system in giving you a feel for the wider context of an archaeological survey. While you don’t find a Viking ship every day, I am optimistic that this kind of technology can turn up similar finds in the years to come.”
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