The highlight of our holiday was our visit to Roskilde and its excellent Viking Museum.
In 11th century five viking ships were sunk across the channel which provided a route down the Roskilde Fiord, to defend against raiders from the sea. Their existence was gradually forgotten over the centuries, although local fisherman have always known that some sort of ship was lying there.
In 1962 a complex excavation was carried out which involved pilings being driven into the sea and the whole site was dried out. Large sections of five viking ships were recovered and these are now preserved and beautifully displayed in a specially constructed building.
The five ships each had a different role. The biggest is a fighting longship which would have carried sixty men. The rest include examples of an ocean trader, a coastal trader, a smaller longship and a fishing boat. Each has been carefully reconstructed, using historically correct tools and raw materials. The results are floating in the harbour for visitors to see and wonder at. The great longship has even made a successful voyage from Roskilde to Dublin.
The reconstruction process, the tools and the different woods are all part of this fascinating exhibition. We thought it was very well done and worth coming to see. After all, these people could have been my ancestors.