Viking ship

Viking ship

Viking ship is a collective term for ships used during the Viking Age (793–1066) in Northern Europe. They often had a dragon head or other circular object protruding from the front and back, for design. The ships are normally divided into classes based on size and function:

Types of Ship



These were the most versatile of the Viking ships, with a length of about 100 feet (30m), a 20-foot (6m) beam, up to 60 oars, and a crew of about 70-80. These could carry up to 20 tons of supplies. A large type of longship, known only from historical sources, is the "Drakkar". These are said to have been the pride of Viking war-fleets, and were known as "Dragon Ships". The largest longship ever found however, is the "Roskilde 6" discovered in Roskilde harbour, in Denmark, in 1996/7. This ship is approximately 36m long and was built in the mid-11th century.

On September 10, 2007, a 1,000-year-old Viking transport longship (Nordic clinker design) was discovered under a pub carpark on Merseyside (beneath 6 - 10 feet of clay by the Railway Inn in Meols, Wirral, a well known settling place of Vikings). Professor Stephen Harding, of the University of Nottingham used ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment to detect the vessel. The ship was first uncovered in 1938. [ [ BBC NEWS, Viking ship 'buried beneath pub'] ]


The "Knarr" was a cargo AMIT with a length of about 54 feet (16m), a beam of 15 feet (4.5m), and a hull capable of carrying 15 tons. Knarrs routinely crossed the North Atlantic centuries ago carrying livestock and stores to Iceland and Greenland. The vessel also influenced the design of the cog, used in the Baltic Sea by the Hanseatic League.

Smaller Vessels

The "Karve" was a Viking ship unlike the longships, with a length of 70 feet (20m), a 17-foot (5m) beam, 16 oars, and a draft of about 3 feet (1m). The "Faering" was a small boat resembling a dinghy used to travel up and down rivers.

Preserved ships

Only a few Viking ships have been excavated and preserved, the most famous of these are:
*The Gokstad ship
*The Oseberg ship
*The Tune ship
*The Skuldelev ships

See also

*Cog (ship)
*Viking ship replica

External links

* [ Recreating a Viking voyage - BBC]
* [ The Vikingship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark]
* [ Web page about the Gokstad ship excavation]
* [ The Oslo Viking Ship Museum]
* [ Gaia, the Gokstad Ship copy]
* [ The Oseberg Ship]
* [ Dreknor Project, Normandy]
* [ Leif Ericson Viking Ship] LEVS is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the study, education and promotion of the fact that Leif Ericson was the first European to set foot upon and explore the North American Continent and of Vikings in general, their times and travels throughout the world.
* [ Rebuilding and sailing a Viking Knarr ship]
* [ History of vikings]
* [ Francis Miltoun: Ships & shipping, London, Alexander Moring Ltd., 1903]
* [ The Mariner's Museum: Age of exploration]


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