Remarkable 1,000-Year-Old Relics
The Age of the Vikings, when Norsemen terrorized the coasts of Europe, lasted approximately from 800 to 1050 (the bold explorer Leif Ericsson is said to have discovered America in 1001). Little was written down of their vivid sagas and legends, embellished over the ages by word of mouth.
The single best place to experience the wealth of their heritage is at the cathedral-like Vikingskiphuset or Viking Ship Museum, built in 1936 to house three incredibly well-preserved 9th-century Viking burial ships discovered at the turn of the century in the nearby Oslo Fjord.
Considered the country’s most important archaeological cache, the three vessels contained the royal bodies of Viking chieftains and one queen (believed to be the grandmother of Harald Fairhair), all entombed with their servants, pets, and countless artifacts meant to serve them in the afterlife in the royal manner to which they were accustomed.
Together, they constitute the largest Viking find ever recorded, and have shaped the understanding of Norway’s distant maritime past. The artistry and craftsmanship confirm that the Vikings excelled at more than sailing.