Viking Shipbuilders Tool ( AXE )
Age - 8th - 10th Century
Discovered - Europe
Vikings landed on America approximately 500 years before Christopher Columbus stepped onto the continent. Viking chief Leif Eriksson of Greenland made landfall on the Island of Newfoundland in the year 1,000 AD. Under his rule, Vikings settled in Newfoundland and discovered Labrador.
** The Vikings **
Vikings were the seafaring Norse people from southern Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden) who from the late 8th to late 11th centuries raided, pirated, traded and settled throughout parts of Europe. They also voyaged as far as the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, and North America. In the countries they raided and settled, the period is known as the Viking Age, and the term 'Viking' also commonly includes the inhabitants of the Norse homelands. The Vikings had a profound impact on the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, France, Estonia, and Kievan Rus'.
Expert sailors and navigators aboard their characteristic longships, Vikings established Norse settlements and governments in the British Isles, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Normandy, the Baltic coast, and along the Dnieper and Volga trade routes in what is now European Russia, Belarus and Ukraine (where they were also known as Varangians). The Normans, Norse-Gaels, Rus' people, Faroese and Icelanders emerged from these Norse colonies. The Vikings also voyaged to Constantinople, Iran, and Arabia. They were the first Europeans to reach North America, briefly settling in Newfoundland (Vinland). While spreading Norse culture to foreign lands, they simultaneously brought home slaves, concubines and foreign cultural influences to Scandinavia, profoundly influencing the genetic and historical development of both. During the Viking Age the Norse homelands were gradually consolidated from smaller kingdoms into three larger kingdoms: Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
** Viking Ships **
There have been several archaeological finds of Viking ships of all sizes, providing knowledge of the craftsmanship that went into building them. There were many types of Viking ships, built for various uses; the best-known type is probably the longship. Longships were intended for warfare and exploration, designed for speed and agility, and were equipped with oars to complement the sail, making navigation possible independently of the wind. The longship had a long, narrow hull and shallow draught to facilitate landings and troop deployments in shallow water. Longships were used extensively by the Leidang, the Scandinavian defence fleets. The longship allowed the Norse to go Viking, which might explain why this type of ship has become almost synonymous with the concept of Vikings.
The Vikings built many unique types of watercraft, often used for more peaceful tasks. The knarr was a dedicated merchant vessel designed to carry cargo in bulk. It had a broader hull, deeper draught, and a small number of oars (used primarily to manoeuvre in harbours and similar situations). One Viking innovation was the 'beitass', a spar mounted to the sail that allowed their ships to sail effectively against the wind. It was common for seafaring Viking ships to tow or carry a smaller boat to transfer crews and cargo from the ship to shore.
Ships were an integral part of the Viking culture. They facilitated everyday transportation across seas and waterways, exploration of new lands, raids, conquests, and trade with neighbouring cultures. They also held a major religious importance. People with high status were sometimes buried in a ship along with animal sacrifices, weapons, provisions and other items, as evidenced by the buried vessels at Gokstad and Oseberg in Norway and the excavated ship burial at Ladby in Denmark. Ship burials were also practised by Vikings abroad, as evidenced by the excavations of the Salme ships on the Estonian island of Saaremaa.
Well-preserved remains of five Viking ships were excavated from Roskilde Fjord in the late 1960s, representing both the longship and the knarr. The ships were scuttled there in the 11th century to block a navigation channel and thus protect Roskilde, then the Danish capital, from seaborne assault. The remains of these ships are on display at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde.
In 2019, archaeologists uncovered two Viking boat graves in Gamla Uppsala. They also discovered that one of the boats still holds the remains of a man, a dog, and a horse, along with other items. This has shed light on death rituals of Viking communities in the region.
Viking Shipbuilders Tool 8th - 10th Century
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