With a bit of luck and a lot of technology, archaeologists recently discovered a 1,000-year-old Viking ship buried underneath a farm in Norway. The discovery was made on the western island of Smøla after researchers scanned a field with advanced ground-penetrating radar.
“This is a very common trait for grave mounds,” said Dag-Øyvind Solem, an archaeologist of the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) and one of the lead researchers on the georadar project. “In addition to having a potentially symbolic meaning, it is thought that [ditches] have the very practical function of making the mounds seem bigger than they really were.”
The ship’s burial mound was desecrated but that proved to be a blessing in disguise as the loose soil’s moisture reflected more visibly on the researchers’ radar. Scan images of the Viking ship show the hull of the 56-foot-long ship perfectly encircled by the remains of the mound.