Historic Nordic Shipwreck Discovered at Bottom of Norway’s Largest Lake
11:00 GMT 21.11.2022 (Updated: 11:01 GMT 21.11.2022)
Lake Mjosa is one of the deepest in Europe and has been described as a treasure trove of sunken ships. It has never been examined beyond the scuba-diving depth of up to 30 meters. The recently-found clinker-built ship has unearthed the potential for more ancient gems.
A unique Nordic shipwreck has been found at the depth of 410 meters in Norway's Lake Mjosa, the country's largest lake which has been described as a “mini-ocean” by scientists.
The find was made by the autonomous underwater vehicle Hugin from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. While wrecks have been found in shallow waters before, the lake has never been examined beyond the scuba-diving depth of around 20-30 meters.
The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment was tasked with mapping Mjosa by the country’s Environment Agency. The mapping seeks to find possible explosives and ammunition that may have been dumped in the lake by an ammunition factory accused of doing so between the 1940s and 1970s.
The shipwreck is about ten meters long and 2.5 meters wide, ranking as a large boat or a small ship.
While Norwegian press was initially elated at the discovery of a Viking ship, researchers explained that this is unlikely to be the case. Initial images suggest that the boat has a different layout from Viking boats, especially in the placement of the oar.
Instead, marine archaeologists believe the ship to be no older than the 1300s. Nevertheless, the ship is clinker-built, a Nordic tradition of shipbuilding stemming from Viking ships and listed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Marine archaeologist Oyvind Odegard of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, which contributed to the research, said the find may reveal more about the maritime history of Norway's largest lake.
“It can be a very important piece. If this is an old vessel, it can tell us a bit about the boat-building tradition and also the seafaring that took place here," Odegard told Norwegian media.
There are currently no plans to lift the ship, which would prove a daunting task even using robot technology.
Previously, Mjosa has been described as a treasure trove for old ships, as huge battles were held on the lake in the 1100s and 1200s between large fleets.
Mjosa is not only Norway's largest lake, but one of the deepest lakes in Europe. It is located in the southern part of the country about 100 kilometers north of Oslo.