The Ship in the Mound

Not far from where I live, there was a Viking ship buried in a mound. In 1867, it was excavated and several years later, it ended up in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. It is called the “Tune Ship” and was resting overlooking a small lake that was connected to the sea by the river Glomma.

The mound is gone now. The only thing that remains is the outline of where the ship was found, marked in the ground. But it is still holy ground. Even though I don’t know who was buried there, it is a place that seems to speak to me in a way I can not explain. When I was a boy and went with my parents to see the Viking ships, this exact ship was the one that fascinated me the most. The other two, and much more famous Oseberg and Gokstad ships, are magnificent and much better preserved, but for some reason the remains of that ship from the mound close to where I would later move and live as a family father, spoke to me in a very special way.

The Tune Ship was probably used to carry both people and different sorts of cargo. It was about 18 meters long and 4 meters wide (59×13 feet), and we know it was not built for burial only; it was never dismantled during excavation and we can still see the wool caulking between the oak boards in the hull. The ship seems to have been from around 850 AD, while the burial chamber has been carbon dated to around 910AD.

– Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen