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More cracks found in 1000-year-old Viking ship

Officials at Oslo’s famed Viking Ship Museum have found more cracks in the wooden Gokstad ship that’s been on public display since 1932. Anxious experts have added to its support apparatus, in the hopes of preventing the ancient vessel from collapsing.

More cracks found in 1000-year-old Viking ship
The Gokstad ship at The Viking Ship Museum
[Credit: Museum of Cultural History]

“When 1,000-year-old ship planks begin to weaken, the situation is extremely serious,” said Hakon Glorstad, director of the University of Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History that’s responsible for the Viking ships. “Wood that’s so old doesn’t have the same flexibility as modern wood and can totally collapse, quickly and without warnng.”

More cracks found in 1000-year-old Viking ship
More cracks found in 1000-year-old Viking ship
Crack in the hull of the Gokstad ship [Credit: Dan P. Neegaard]

Glorstad told newspaper Aftenposten on Monday that in its current location, “we can’t develop the overall support systems needed to secure the ship’s entire hull.” He said the current base is no longer adequate and the space around the ship too confined.

More cracks found in 1000-year-old Viking ship
Carefully placed supports with sensors mitigate and monitor the cracking
[Credit: Dan P. Neegaard]
More cracks found in 1000-year-old Viking ship
The University of Oslo's David Hauer monitors Gokstad ship movement
[Credit: Dan P. Neegaard]
The museum has been sounding alarms for months, even years, about the condition of the vessels and has been promised new surroundings for its three Viking ships found in Vestfold between 1857 and 1904. The government has granted project funding but not funding for the actual construction of an expanded Viking ship museum at its current location at Bygdoy, meaning no new facility to better preserve the ships will be finished before 2025 at the earliest.

Source: [May 07, 2019]


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