Primitive Tider (Dec 2019)

Variasjon i praksis? Sammenføyingsteknikk – og materiale i nordnorske jernalderbåter.

  • Thomas Lund

Journal volume & issue
no. 21


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Variation in practice? Joining-techniques in North Norwegian iron age boats The iron age burial custom where individuals are placed in seafaring vessels has traditionally been associated with large ships or smaller clinker build boats, such as the famous Oseberg ship found in Norway or the Nydam boat from Denmark. The overall impression of boats from this period have thus been that most of the vessels were constructed and joined with iron rivets consisting of a square nail and a dish shaped washer called a rove. A closer study of archaeological remains from boat burials in Northern Norway has revealed that this might not have been the case. By investigating the number and location of the rivets within the burial, several boats appear not to have been purely “clinker built”, but also fastened by a so called “sewing technique”, traditionally associated with older or Sami boatbuilding traditions. In addition, one of the newly found boat burials from Hillesøy in Troms county contained a boat completely lacking iron rivets. The main result of detailed comparison of all Iron Age boat burials from Northern Norway is exemplified by a selection of boats demonstrating varied use of joining-techniques. Furthermore, this article explores the contextual setting of these boats, arguing that the chosen boatbuilding techniques affected the functional aspects of the vessels and is thus related to their maritime activities.