We need a little break from the Royal shenanigans at Roskilde Cathedral (and I need to go back and take better pictures of the rest), but let us stay nearby in another very historic part of Roskilde, Denmark:
Denmark’s national museum for ships, seafaring and boatbuilding in the prehistoric and medieval period; The Viking Ship Museum.
This museum exhibits five original Viking ships excavated nearby in 1962. These ships were deliberately sunk at the Skuldelev in Roskilde Fjord around the year 1070. The reason for sinking them was to block the most important fairway and to protect Roskilde from an enemy attack from the sea. These five ships turned out to be five different types of ships (and two of the originating from the area in western Norway my mother is from) ranging from cargo ships to ships of war.
Excavations for the shipyard expansion of the museum in late 1990s uncovered a further 9 ships from the Viking age and early medieval period. This is the largest discovery of prehistoric ships in Northern Europe and includes the longest Viking warship ever found (the Roskilde 6 at 36 meters). And they might even find more as the excavations are not yet completed.
The museum also conducts research and educates researchers in the fields of maritime history, marine archaeology and experimental archaeology; they host conferences and house a research library.
The Viking Ship Museum has a long tradition of Viking ship reconstructions and boat building and also collects boats of interest from all over Scandinavia, the collection now comprising more than 40 vessels. It is possible to follow or engage in the ship building process here, as the associated ship building yard is constantly building new ships by original methods as part an experimental archaeology learning process.
You can get out on the sea in one of the reconstructions during your visit to the museum, and you can try a few of the crafts at the ship building yard, as this is a very interactive part of the museum – a great venue for learning for young and old!
When visiting this part of the world, make sure you stop by The Greatest Viking Ship Collection in the World!