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RECONSTRUCTION of pre-historic remains is always a hot topic with variousangles of approach being put forward. Several articles in this issue continuethis interesting discussion.Lets start with the very special reconstruction of the boathouse atAvaldsnes in Norway, see photo on the front page. The discovery of theexceptional remains of a Viking-age boathouse in 1990 opened up a newdiscussion concerning prehistoric boathouses. Here two articles allow youto follow the reconstruction process and the thinking behind it.


  • V king HeritageV king Heritage



    DESTINATIONVIKING Hgskolan p Gotland

    Gotland University

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    Viking Heritage Magazine 1/05

    The coward believes he will live forever

    If he holds back in the battle

    But in old age he shall have no peace

    Though spears have spared his limbs.

    From Hvmal(Words from The High One)

    AAbboouutt tthhee ffrroonntt ppaaggee

    The reconstructed boathouse at Avaldsnes on the island of Karmy, Norway. Read more about it on page 37. Photo Karl Johan Gundersen.

    Drawing by Lou Harrison, tthhuunnddeerrhheeaarrttssttuuddiiooss@@yyaahhoooo..ddkk

    EditorialRECONSTRUCTION of pre-historic remains is always a hot topic with variousangles of approach being put forward. Several articles in this issue continuethis interesting discussion.

    Lets start with the very special reconstruction of the boathouse atAvaldsnes in Norway, see photo on the front page. The discovery of theexceptional remains of a Viking-age boathouse in 1990 opened up a newdiscussion concerning prehistoric boathouses. Here two articles allow youto follow the reconstruction process and the thinking behind it.

    A Viking-age boathouse needs Viking ships! This time we are glad to beable to treat you with two stories of two famous Viking ships namelyslendingur and Havhingsten fra Glendaloug. slendingur is the replica ofthe Gokstad ship that sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to North America inthe year 2000, and now the captain let us take part in that voyage. Readalso some personal impressions from the launch of Havhingsten in Roskildelast September.

    Closly related to reconstruction is experimental archaeology, which is anacademic "hands-on" method used especially to find out more about howobjects were produced in ancient times. New research regarding Viking-agetechniques of bronze-casting has lately been realized in Denmark. We arevery proud to be the first to publish the results of these experiments.

    So questions concerning quality, authenticity and purpose are mostimportant when it comes to re-creating and displaying prehistoric objectsand facts. And Viking Heritage Magazine will continue to cover this themein issues to come.

    I wish you all an enjoyable read!

    MMaarriittaa EE EEkkmmaannEditor

















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    IN THIS ISSUEThe Building of a Boathouseat Avaldsnes on Karmy 3355

    Reconstruction of a Viking-age Boathouse on the island of Karmy 6677

    CastingTrefoil Brooches 881133

    The Gotlandic Althing and theCistercian monastery in Roma 11441177

    The history that disappeared 11771199

    HHEERRIITTAAGGEE BBOOOOKKSS 1199,, 22993300,, 33333355

    Braslav Lake District in the Viking epoch 22002211


    Vikings join in Iron-ageChieftains Feast 22222233

    The Viking Ship Icelander 22442277

    The Viking Age which period are we referring to? 22882299

    Living Vikings join other Living History museums in a new liveARCH project 3300

    The Launch of the Viking Longship Havhingsten fraGlendalough at Roskilde in Denmark on Sept 4, 2004 33113333


    Heritage News

  • PlanningIn connection with, and as partof the Viking farm at Avaldsnes,it was decided that theboathouse from Rennesyshould be reconstructed andplaced on the shoreline adjacentto the farm.

    An archaeologist and buildingengineer, Jochen Komber, whoworked at the Archaeological Museum inStavanger at the time, was engaged tobegin planning and drawing thereconstruction.


    The original boathouseThe original boathouse was discoveredduring construction work at Rennesy inRogaland.

    The area consisted of two banks notseen so easily on a grassy plain some2,53 m above sea level. In 1991 aninvestigation was carried out reaching theconclusion that this was the remains of aboathouse dated to between 10301220.Evidence pointed to this being aboathouse constructed to hold a largewarship, part of a nationwide defence ofthe coast.

    Jochen is an experienced archaeologistspecialising in building construction, andhas a long history of both working withand drawing plans for several buildingsfrom the Viking period in Scandinavia.

    This project was exciting, as it wouldincorporate several groundbreakingbuilding techniques. A row of angledposts on the outside of the building wereto be used as roof timbers giving thebuilding the very special form of aninverted boat hull, and this is in fact theimage which is experienced when seeingthe building for the first time.

    Building responsibility Once the plans were ready, the projectwas presented to four constructioncompanies who then discussed variousmethods of construction based upon thesedrawings. The Didrik Heried buildingcompany, certified by the Norwegian

    Viking Heritage Magazine 1/05DESTINATIONVIKING

    The Building ofa Boathouse at

    Avaldsneson Karmy

    Text and photos:

    Karl Johan Gundersen and Andrew Peter


    In the waters between Karmy and the mainland ofwestern Norway lies a small island. Over the past eightyears, a Viking farm has been reconstructed here atAvaldsnes comprising a collection of buildings from theViking Age. During 2004 a new reconstruction hasemerged; a large boathouse some 32 by 15 meters nowstands finished by the sea.

    Map of Karmy

    Map of Scandinavia

    Model of theboathouse.

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    Riksantikvar (Central Board of NationalAntiquities), was given the project and sothe building could commence.

    The first job was to construct a scalemodel, which would help with thebuilding process.

    The first part of the constructionprocess was carried out at the firms ownsite. This was then taken apart andtransported to the island by boat. Thismethod saved a good deal of time andexpense during the project.

    At several points during the project,meetings were held to discuss details ofthe process as there was a great deal ofpressure to construct a building asauthentic as possible.

    Tours were made to several oldbuildings in West Norway to studytechniques and methods that could helpin the project.

    In the beginning it was decided thatthe roof timbers should be curved prior toassembly. This was to be achieved bysteam bending.

    The process was discussed at length,and eventually it was decided that itwould be both too time-consuming andexpensive. The final decision was taken touse thin trunks of straight grown pine,which were left round in section and bentinto shape with ropes.

    This method proved to be successfulwith the result that only two of the trunkssnapped during the process. We did not

    achieve the degree of curvature that wasplanned in fact, although the end resultwas satisfactory.

    The sections were then anchored toeach other using wooden plugs.

    RoofThe roof is covered with horizontal planksof pine, the evidence of this techniquebeing the roofs of old Norwegian stave

    churches. On these the first roofing layeris constructed this way and there isevidence that this was indeed the originalouter roofing of these buildings.

    The planks overlap one another andare secured with galvanised boat nails.Here we could have used handmade nailsbut, again, the cost would have beenexcessive.

    The underside of these planks had their

    Viking Heritage Magazine 1/05 D E S T I N AT I O NVIKING

    The roof planks overlap each other and are secured with large boatnails.

    The doors are to small to allow a largeship to enter, but the entire front can be

    removed to let the ship in.

    The rafters were bent using ropes.

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    growth wood removed so that only theheartwood would be exposed to theelements.

    Between the planks and joins, a strip offelt was inserted, which had been dippedin tar to ensure a watertight join. Thelengthwise joins of these planks were sawnat an angle in two planes. This was amethod we found used in a medievalchurch in Hordaland. Finally the buildingis treated with a coat of tar, a well-knownancient technique for both roofs andwalls.

    At ground level a row of stones werelaid out vertically, the reason being that agreat deal of water gathers at this pointand this will greatly increase the life of thebuilding.

    UsageNow the building stands finished we canlook forward to using it. To date we haveno Viking ship to fill this space, but thismay change in the not-to-distant future.As of today, we are in possession of areconstruction of the largest of theGokstad ship follow-boats, and this willoccupy the building during the winter.

    The entrance doors were originallyplanned to be large enough to allow alarge ship to enter, but later this wasredesigned and now it is possible to

    remove the entire front of the building toallow access for a large Gokstad-size ship.

    The buildings primary use will bearranging events like Viking banquets andother activities such as exhibitions andconcerts. The building has great potentialwith a calculated seating capacity ofaround 250.

    A modern kitchen has been installed atone end of the building ensuring thatmodern food and hygiene regulations canbe observed and followed.

    AdjustmentsThere have been some variations inconstruction that do not follow traditionalmethods from the Viking period. Forexample the posts of the building werenot dug into the ground as was theoriginal. This was done to combat theproblem of the posts rotting. The areaaround this building is constantly wet as itlies barely above sea level.