Viking Ships

When we think about Viking’s, we always think of the Longship or Dragonship.

These ships were a highly valued possession and the Viking’s naval force.

Longships were made from wood with Oak being the preferred choice. Wooden planks would be placed overlapping each other and would then be riveted together to keep them in place. This was called the ‘Clinker’ method. Any gaps in the wood were filled with tarred wool or animal hair.

There were oars placed along the entire length of the vessel and it would have a bright, highly decorated square sail.

Viking ships had many ornate carvings and a large dragon or snake head at the end of it. This was to ward off evil spirits and sea monsters. This is where they got the name dragonship.

Longships were built for speed. They were long and narrow and built with a flat-bottomed hull. This made them easy to use in shallow water and good for beach landings.

Viking’s also built deeper longships for carrying cargo and livestock.

The sail could be removed and fitted to the ship’s side like a tent to protect the crew. Also on land the boat could be turned upside down and used as shelter.

There are different longships

Snekkja

This was a longship used for both pleasure and warfare. It was the smallest longship used in warfare and could hold about 40 crew. This would be 20 oarsman on each side. There would also another person to use the rudder and steer.

These were light in weight and could be easily carried.

Skied

These are the longest Viking longship and would have about 30 oarsman on each side.

The Snekkja and Skied did not have benches for the oarsman to sit on. They sat on sea chests that held supplies.

Knarr

These were cargo supply ships. These ships were heavier, shorter in length, and the hull was deeper. They would carry up to 40 tonnes of supplies and would also carry livestock. When returning from raids they also carried items stolen during these pillages.

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