The Gjellestad excavation is now in progress
Today, Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn broke ground on the excavation of the Gjellestad ship. The remains of this Viking ship were found in 2018 on the farm Jellestad near Halden, and is one of the most remarkable archeological finds in Norway in after the second world war.
The ship is a discovery of unparalleled national and international importance, Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn said at today's ceremony.
– The finding is very vulnerable to human intervention and climate change, and we know it is undergoing active degradation. Therefore, it was necessary for the government to provide an extraordinary allocation over the revised state budget to stop the degradation and secure the discovery and the potential for knowledge as quickly as possible, says Climate and Environment Minister Sveinung Rotevatn.
The archaeologists will work at Gjellestad for five months. The excavation will secure what is left before all wood is broken down by fungi and other microorganisms. The work is carried out in three stages, the first of which consists of removing and sieving the top layer of soil that lies above the ship's tomb. In the second phase, the archaeologists excavate the stern before finally digging up the center and bow of the ship. It is at this stage that archaeologists expect to make the most exciting finds.
The Gjellestad ship is not as well preserved as the Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune ships, but modern excavation methods will nevertheless make it possible to document the broken parts of the ship so well that the ship can be reconstructed with great detail.
The tomb may contain both burial chambers, hundreds of passages of various kinds and traces of the burial.
The excavation will take place under a tent and is not open to the public. Eventually we want to do guided tours of the excavation.