The Viking Burial (Det Brente Skipet) – Norwegian Documentary
Nordfjordeid is a small village from western Norway (Norwegian: Vestlandet, Vest-Norge or Vest-Noreg). It is the administrative centre of the municipality of Eid which belongs to Sogn og Fjordane county. Subsequent excavations from two burial mounds dating back to the Viking Age on the site of a small farm in the village led to the discovery of Norway’s largest Viking Age ship found to date — the Myklebust ship.
During the Viking Age, Nordfjord was an important settlement which had agricultural potential. It was strategically situated at equal distance between Trondheim (historically also known as Niðarós) and Bergen (historically also known as Bjørgvin), two of the most important cities of Norway. The shortest maritime route from early medieval Norway to Iceland was also from Nordfjord.
In 1874, an apparently forgotten but spectacular Viking Age burial mound was discovered in the locality. Two round barrows by the name ‘Rundehogen’ and ‘Skjoratippen’ were discovered on the site of the local Myklebust farm from Nordfjordeid. Rundehogen, the first burial mound, is 30 metres wide and 4 metres high while Skjoratippen, the second burial mound, is 32 metres wide and 4 metres high.
The archaeological site initially had five burial mounds, but three of them have been unfortunately lost in time. Excavations on the site of the Myklebust farm have been made during the early 1900’s by two archaeologists, Haakon Shetelig (in 1902) and Anders Lorange (in 1903).
On the site of the Rundehogen burial mound one of the largest Viking Age ships was unearthed. It was named Myklebust, after the name of the farm. The remains of the longship however were poorly preserved, in stark contrast to its relatives, the Gokstad and Oseberg (other two Viking Age better preserved longships).
Nevertheless, iron nails, shield bulges and burnt weapons were discovered in copious amounts. These artefacts shed light on the Viking Age ship from Nordfjord. It is likely that the ship was built somewhere between the 9th century to early 10th century.
The charred layer from the excavation site indicated that the longship was roughly 25 meters long (this estimated figure making it the largest Viking Age ship discovered to date). In addition, a rusted lump consisting of as much as 58 shield bulges was also unearthed.
Below you can watch a documentary narrated in Norwegian with English subtitles on the Myklebust ship on Vimeo:
Documentation sources and external links:
- Myklebust Round Barrows on www.megalithic.co.uk
- Arkikon on www.arkikon.no
- Meet Norway’s largest Viking ship – The Myklebust ship on www.vikingr.news
- News about Norway’s Largest Viking Ship on www.worldtreeproject.org
- The Myklebust ship on www.vikingskip.com (in Norwegian)
- Nordfjordeid on www.wikipedia.org (in English)
- Visit Nordfjord – Official Travel Guide on www.en.nordfjord.no (In Norwegian, English and German)