The Oseberg Ship

Storage chest from the Viking-Era Oseberg Ship in Norway

In Mästermyr a farmer was plowing; in Oseberg a farmer was digging. In the summer of 1903, a Norwegian farmer discovered an ancient wooden structure and decided to report the find. Traveling to the capital city – then called Christiania, now called Oslo – the farmer got in touch with an archaeology professor at the university and described his discovery. The professor rushed to Oseberg and soon found that the structure was a Viking ship, as big as the Gokstad Ship that was excavated near Sandefjord in 1880.

The grave mound containing the ship was located near an old riverbed five kilometers from the sea. Over the centuries it became covered by thick, protective peat. The grave chamber, made of wood, was located behind the mast of the ship. Along with large amounts of grave goods, the chamber had a large, lavish storage chest made of oak; two smaller, simpler chests made of the same material; and fragments of three more.