Even before they have finished testing the Saga Oseberg, the Foundation has begun planning a new project. This time it’s building the Klåstad ship!
The Klåstad ship is the third Viking ship found in Vestfold and the only one that is exhibited in the county. It can be studied at the Slottsfjellmuseum in Tønsberg, after a reconstruction by Arne Emil Christensen early in the 1970s. Christensen later took charge of the Viking ships at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.
Wrecked 1 000 years ago
The Klåstad ship differs from the Oseberg and Gokstad ships in the fact that it was not buried in a mound but capsized around the year 1000 in the Klåstad Sound in southern Vestfold. Its cargo was whetting stones from Eidsborg in Telemark. The whetting stones were important export goods for many centuries.
The Klåstad ship sank in mud and clay and most of one side of it was preserved. It is therefore possible to make a reliable copy. As far as we know the ship was one the Viking Age’s hard-working vessels, built for carrying cargo. The length of the Klåstad ship is about 20-22 metres, and the width about 4.5 metres. The hull is basically built of oak, with the upper strakes of pine and the ribs of beech.
A public building process
Shipbuilder Geir Røvik in the New Oseberg Ship Foundation says that the Klåstad ship will also be built by hand.
“After finishing the Saga Oseberg we now have the necessary competence, both within our regular staff and the many volunteers. Building a replica of the Klåstad ship will allow us to maintain and develop this competence,” says Røvik, adding that the cost of building the new ship will depend on the volunteers’ efforts. This time, there is no point in accelerating the building, since experience shows that it’s the process itself on the building site that fascinates the public.
Leader of the board, Einar Chr. Erlingsen, says that the Foundation has not started funding the new build yet.
“We have shown with “Saga Oseberg” that everything is possible as long as we pull together in a huge team effort. However, at this stage we are very dependent on public funding; we need to see a public contribution as basic financing for the new project. We can promise that we will provide yet a solid contribution to Vestfold as a Viking county,” says Erlingsen.
Likes the idea
Lena Fahre, leader of the Slottsfjellmuseum, said to the local radio channel, NRK Østafjells, that building a replica of the Klåstad ship sounds like a great idea.
“The Oseberg project revealed that the original ship was not reconstructed quite correctly before being exhibited in Oslo. Through thorough research we uncovered how the Oseberg ship was built in 820. Building a replica of the Klåstad ship would therefore be very interesting.
The Klåstad ship: Most of one side has been preserved and is exhibited at the Slottsfjellmuseum in Tønsberg. This is sufficient for building a reliable replica, claims the Oseberg Foundation. (Photo: Jørgen Kirsebom)