Starting at the top
We are well underway with the Gjellestad excavation, and we have started by systematically removing the top soil above the ship in a square meter grid.
Julia, Vegard, and Ingvild are sifting top soil. To the far left, Magnus removes the top soil over the ship, supported by Bjørn Eivind and Martin. The massive Jellhaugen grave mound dominates the background. Photo: Camilla C. Wenn
The top soil is placed in piles on nonwoven cloth, which is marked with the with the grid number, to ensure we know where the piles are from. In the cultivated field at Gjellestad, we may find remains from ploughed down houses, graves, production sites, old cultivation layers and much more, with both household waste, grave goods, production waste and randomly lost objects. The objects are no longer exactly where they were originally, but by registering where we find them in a grid, we can get an overview of their distribution.
We clean the soil in larges sieves. After flushing with water to remove the rest of the soil, the artifacts remain, alongside pebbles and gravel.
So far we have found some items that probably originate from previous settlements on the field, such as pottery fragments, burnt clay, flint, slag and burnt bones. But a number of iron fragments have also emerged, including parts of iron clinker nails, rivets used to build the the ship. We know that the top parts of the ship have disappeared over the years, and it is probably the clinker nails from these parts that we find when sifting the top soil.