Viking ship - lost - and found ?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Bergalia, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    An interesting note from the Independent newspaper in the UK:

    'Radar scans reveal Viking boat beneath pub car park'

    By Ciar Byrne, Arts and Media Correspondent
    10 September 2007


    In 1938, a labourer building a pub car park in Wirral (Cheshire) unearthed part of an old boat 3 metres below ground. His foreman told him to cover it up quickly, because an archaeological dig would have slowed down construction, costing time and money. Nearly 70 years later, investigators are finally close to solving the mystery of the vessel. Radar scans have revealed the outline of a what appears to be a Viking boat beneath the car park of the Railway Inn at Meols. The only other known examples in Britain were unearthed at Balladoole on the Isle of Man and Sanday in Orkney.

    John McRae, the builder who discovered the boat in 1938, told the story to his family. Before he died in 1991, his son asked him to describe the proportions of what he had seen, which he turned into a sketch. He sent the details to archaeologists at Liverpool University, who put them on record. When the pub's owner sought planning permission for a new patio, details of the buried boat emerged. The landlord mentioned the discovery to a police officer, Tim Baldock, who in turn contacted Stephen Harding, an expert on the Viking settlement which once covered much of the Wirral peninsula. Mr Baldock and Mr Harding organised a radar scan of the area, using the McRae sketch as a guide, which revealed a "boat-shaped anomaly" buried in waterlogged blue clay, which preserves wood and which ensured the survival of the few Viking vessels found in Norway.

    Mr McRae was sure he had dug up a clinker boat with overlapping planks, which would date it from the Viking era or later. Dr Knut Paasche, of the University of Oslo, has examined the scan and believes the vessel may well be a "six faering", a six-oared boat which could carry 12 people. Mr Baldock said he hoped to persuade archaeologists to conduct a more detailed investigation and possibly a dig.

    Wirral was an independent Viking mini-state in the 10th century. Many Viking place names remain, including Thingwall – the name of the parliament.
     
  2. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Nice, Max.
    Something else here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/6986986.stm
    "Professor Stephen Harding, of the University of Nottingham, is now seeking funds to pay for an excavation.
    The Viking expert used ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment to pinpoint the ship's whereabouts.
    He believes the vessel could be carefully removed and exhibited in a museum.
    Professor Harding said: "The next stage is the big one. Using the GPR technique only cost £450, but we have to think carefully about what to do next.
    "Although we still don't know what sort of vessel it is, it's very old for sure and its Nordic clinker design, position and location suggests it may be a transport vessel from the Viking settlement period if not long afterwards.
    "Scandinavian influence persisted here through the centuries.
    "It is speculation at the moment, but at least we now know exactly where to look to find out. How it got there is also hard to say.
    "It is some distance from the present coastline and probably the old one too.
    "It might have got to its present position after flooding and sinking into an old marsh."

    Everything you wanted to know about Vikings in Wirral, but you dared to ask.....:)
    http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/-sczsteve/
     
  3. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    Viking Ship - lost - and found

    Good background stuff Guillermo. I might add a bit more 'explaining' how the ship could be found 'well back from the coast'.

    On the West Coast of Scotland there is a small 'town' called Tarbert (one of several) it is known as the Gateway to the Kintyre Peninsula and describes the border to the less well known region of Knapdale (Mid-Argyll) in the north. The name originates from the Gaelic word Tairbeart, which describes the narrow strip of land between two lochs. It reflects the actual location of the small fishing town very well: the settlement is squeezed in between the West Loch Kintyre and the East Loch Tarbert on a band of land no wider than one mile.

    It was here that in 1093 Magnus Barefoot, King of Norway, employed an unusual tactic to claim Kintyre for his own. Malcolm, King of Scotland, had decreed that the Vikings could annexe any land they could sail their boats round. Magnus had his crew sail from West Loch Tarbert around the Mull of Kintyre than back to Eest Loch Tarbert, where he ordered the men to drag their longship over the isthmus, completing the circuit.

    A similar tactic was used by the Norsemen to traverse between Loch Long (a sea loch) and Loch Lomond which gave access to the more 'inland' settlements.

    The Kintyre Peninsula, by the way, is also known as 'Scotland's Dick'....a glance at the map will explain why.:D
     
  4. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Do you, Scots, have some kind of insane fixation about 'Dicks' and their size...? :D
     
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  5. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    Viking Ship - lost - and found

    One should be proud of one's heritage Guillermo...It's what sets the Scot apart from lesser men....:D
     
  6. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Yeap....!
     
  7. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    Viking Ship - lost - and found

    A line from 'Casablanca' sums it up: "Here's looking at you, kid....":)
     
  8. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Whatever you say, darling, but....will our friendship be a long lasting one, Louis? :D
     
  9. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Actually the main reason that the Scottish are interested in "Dicks" is that normally is the location of their brains (those that are so fitted!)
     
  10. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

  11. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    Viking Ship - lost - and found

    Blast, but I have to agree with you Guillermo.:D :D :D :D
     
  12. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    2nd-ed
     
  13. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    Cetainly a lesson to those in the building and construction industry. Have a clause in your contract that if an archaeologic artifact is discovered during construction you get paid by the hour until the geeks have finished stuffing around.

    Poida
     
  14. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Now I could work to those rules Poida, you should come and organise the construction industry hereabouts (somebody should)
     

  15. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    Guys, I was brought up on a house that looked out over Meols beach, I spent my childhood checking anchors and moorings and lusting over the old wooden yachts and Nobby prawners - late 1960's / early 1970's..... The Railway Inn was the local pub, maybe 1,000 yards away from our front gate.

    Today's Meols beach was the remains or a forest a few 100 years ago. The sea reclaimed it and is now giving it back, the channels are silting up, the moorings have moved at least one mile upchannel to gain access around tip the ever growing sandbank that shadows the shoreline. I guess in 50 years we'll lose out channel that still struggles to keep the moorings with a half decent depth of water.

    How could the Viking boat get there? no problem, the sands, channels etrc.. have shifted so much in the past 40 years that over 1000 years to move 800 metres in a direct line from the pub to the shoreline? Easy for old Neptune.

    It makes me long for home sitting here in Brazil reading about my beach, my pub, thinking of the covered forest and worrying about the moorings being lost... :-(

    For those with Google Earth, the pub is at 53°24'04.52"N 3°09'32.61W
    My childhood house on the beach 53°24'16.99"N 3°09'40.72W

    For golf fans, last years British open was played at our local golf couse in Hoylake (The Royal Liverpool) where young Tiger won: 53°23'03.61"N 3°11'28.13W

    Zoom right in, the definition is great.

    Welcome to my world!
    Richard
     
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