The European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) arranged their first conference in Oslo in September. Fifty delegates chose the excursion to Vestfold and the New Oseberg Ship on the final day.
Their visit took place on a Sunday, and in honour of the prestigious guests the Foundation to build a New Oseberg Ship had called in employees and volunteers to give the visitors the best impression of the building site.
"Splendid!” exclaimed Karlene Jones-Bley, archaeologist from the United Stated after studying in detail the woollen sail. "This is an exciting project and so interesting to see how they are reconstructing the Oseberg ship. Everybody, especially the women, seem to be doing an excellent job,” said Jones-Bley.
The group were received at the Oseberg site by chairman of the board, Einar Chr. Erlingsen, chief boat builder Geir Røvik and tools expert Thomas Finderup. The visitors enjoyed the technical presentation of the project and the opportunity to try out Viking tools themselves.
"This was incredibly exciting. This is truly experimental archaeology,” commented the Russian archaeologist Khan Nikolay after he had tried the Viking "drill”.
The other delegates, coming from 13 nations, expressed similar opinions. Their interest in the project threatened their time schedule as the one-hour visit became two hours and Terje Gansum, their guide, had to cajole them back onto the bus for their next point of interest – the Gokstad mound.
Viking tools: The visiting archaeologists along with the employees tried out different types of Viking tools. (Photo: Holly Hollins)
Exhibition of Viking tools: Tool expert Thomas Finderup (left) and chairman Einar Chr. Erlingsen showed off a selection of the Oseberg collection of Viking Age tools. (Photo: Holly Hollins)
Wet weather: The rain did not dampen the enthusiasm! Oddleiv Almli shows the visitors the splendid oak chest from Oseberg. (Photo: Holly Hollins)