Lately, we have been building up a storm at the Viking Museum at Ladby. Dødeskibet – our 1:1 model of the Ladby Ship as it would have looked on the day of the funeral, before being covered with planks and turf – is almost finished. Yet before completion, a new and rather ambitious shipbuilding dream is looming large. In the Summer 2011 we began to built a 1:1 copy of the Ladby Ship; that is, an approximately 22 m. long and 3 m. wide battle ship, with places for 32 rowers – but this time using all the tricks of the trade.
The hands (and heads) that build this new copy of the Ladby Ship will follow the Viking shipbuilding traditions and methods; it is a challenge! As opposed to Dødeskibet, which only sails in our imaginations, this one will be launched into the fjord.
First a boat, then a ship
As a warm-up to building the Ladby Ship copy, we had constructed a smaller replica first. Experts in building Viking ships from the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde had recommended this plan of action. We used the smallest of the three boats found with the Gokstad ship in Norway in 1880 as a pattern. It was dated to about 895 AD, is 6,5 m. long and 1.38 m. wide, with space for 2 or 3 rowers. Since the Gokstad ship is quite similar in type to the Ladby Ship, it's quite likely that the Ladby Ship had a ship's boat like the one we now are building.
Building the Gokstad dinghy has been an exciting and challenging project, resulting in an elegant little rowboat. The Gokstad dinghy was completed in December, 2011 and launched on Kerteminde Fjord in May 2012. During the whole summer of 2012 it has been moored in the fjord just off the burial mound where the Ladby Ship lies. In the winter, the boat is brought on land.
We already have a model of the ship on the scale of 1:10; it will provide the basis for copying the Ladby Ship down to the tiniest detail. If all goes according to plan, the ship replica will set sail in 2014.
Who and where?
The boat and shipbuilding work will be undertaken by members of the Ladby Ship Guild, which was founded with the declared goal of building a full-scale replica of the Ladby Ship in collaboration with the Viking Museum at Ladby. They will be assisted by a museum employee experienced in shipbuilding and with consulting help from the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, where they have long experience in building Viking ships and boats with hand tools. The Ladby Ship Guild currently has 102 members.
Both the Gokstad boat copy and the Ladby Ship replica will be built near the museum.
We plan to build a dock along the fjord below the burial mound to allow safe
access to and from the boat and ship. Depending on financial resources and practical needs, we also hope to build a boathouse in the same area, to protect our vessels from winter ice and storms. They can store up energy for a new sailing season.
We are excited at the prospect of watching the boat and ship take form, and of course, of going sailing!
A selection of press, web and TV material (all in Danish)
From the newspaper Fyens Stifstidende
From the TV-station TV2/Fyn # 1
From the TV-station TV2/Fyn # 2
From the History webpage historie-online
To the top