Monthly Archives: July 2014

Viking ships in London and elsewhere

For many years I’ve been excited by Viking ships. As a graduate student I took a course with Professor Sean McGrail at Oxford University and he talked about the many ships that had been discovered which dated from prehistory onwards. When he got to the Viking period he enthused about the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde and encouraged us to visit it if we could. I didn’t get the chance until 2011 when I attended the EEDAL conference in Copenhagen. After the conference I took the train to Roskilde and visited the museum. If you get the chance, do go, the most wonderful thing is the smell of shipbuilding, the wood, ropes, sails and tar, and the chance to take to the fjord in a replica ship.

During the 2012 Olympics, the Danish delegation sent one of the Roskilde replica ships to St Catherine’s Dock in London. I took the family (twice) and we got excited again by the idea of Viking ships.

Earlier this year the British Museum hosted an exhibition of Viking ships and related material¬†and the Roskilde museum sent the huge Roskilde 6 ship for the exhibition. I went one day towards the end of the exhibition and was impressed by the new exhibition space in the British Museum and the range of artefacts they had gathered. One of the publications that accompanied the exhibition was a small book entitled The Viking Ship, by Gareth Williams. For the bargain price of ¬£5.00, less if you are a British Museum member, this is a great introduction to Viking ships, it is packed with details and information. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an index. So I compiled one myself to show just how good this little book is. The index can be downloaded here: BM Viking Ship.