The traditional county of Ringerike in Norway is a hot spot for archeologic finds. Among other things, archeologists have discovered a quarry where the Vikings quarried rock. The rock was a red sandstone. It is only found in this area and was used for runestones. 

The most important of the runestones made in Ringarike is the Dynnastein, which is today on display in the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo.

These runestones also gave name to a style of ornamentation called Ringerike style. The style and kings of Stein coincide in the same age.
Another significant find for Viking enthusiasts is the Gjermundbu helmet - until a few years ago, the only Viking helmet found with enough fragments to reconstruct it. Today it is widely replicated among reenactors all over the world.

The Gjermundbu helmet. Photo: Hardraade Vikingskipforening

The Viking ship project

Based on archeological finds from Vestfold and the local heritage of Ringerike, a project has been developed to build an authentic Viking ship. 

The ship is being built full-scale, using traditional oak, iron, pine tar, and linen materials. Its dimensions will be as follows: 20,3 meters in length, 4,8 meters in width, 0.8 meters in depth, and a height of 2,6 meters above the water at the top of stems.

The ship is large enough for 30 passengers and a crew. It is a replica of the Klaastad ship, found in Vestfold, Norway, in the same area as the Oseberg and Gokstad ships.

A ship of this size demands oak of massive dimensions. The hull planks are made from logs up to 10 meters in length and 1 meter in diameter. The logs are split with hand tools only, clubs and wedges.

"From parts of the logs, we cut two planks and crafted them by hand to fit in the hull. Each plank is of a different shape from the previous. We also use massive oak for the ribs inside the hull. The hull is held together by 4000 rivets. Both rivets and oak planks are coated with tar from pine roots. For caulking between the planks, we used fibers of linen saturated with pine tar, making the hull void of any leaks," Ragnar Wergeland of the Hardraade Vikingskipforening told The Viking Herald.

The hull of the Viking ship replica - under construction. Photo: Hardraade Vikingskipforening

The sail

The sail is a major component of the project. It is being handwoven from the wool of old Norse sheep. The weave, 64 centimeters wide and 40 meters in length, will consist of 980 threads lengthwise and 14 threads/centimeter sideways. 

Each length of 40 meters takes some 200 hours to weave on a manual loom. The sail will be some 90 square meters, giving enough pull to sail the 7-ton ship at speeds up to 10 knots. 

Project open to visitors

The construction site at Sundvollen in Hole County (some 50 kilometers west of Oslo) is open to the public.

The project is mostly built by volunteers and has activities on site each Thursday between 4 PM and 8 PM.

On Saturdays, it is open from 11 AM to 3 PM. Guests are welcome to visit and even take part in the activities.

You can find more information on the project on the Hardraade Vikingskipforening's website.

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