At the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, a team of expert engineers has started working to ensure that a new home being constructed next door doesn’t prove fatal for the three vessels that reportedly survived for a millennium or beyond.
The new building is essential to safeguard the wooden vessels, two of which date from the ninth century and the third from the 10th century, which are at the mercy of temperature and humidity changes in the current museum.
The vibrations brought about by the construction also threaten vessels, so fragile that their weight alone is enough to make them crumble. The engineers are now building steel girders to safeguard them in the upheaval.
Haakon Gloerstad, the Museum of Cultural History director, mentioned that if it is displayed as they stand today, it will end up in pieces.
Looters stole some artefacts from the three vessels, dubbed Oseberg, Gokstad, and Tune. Much could be survived, however, including a wagon, sculptures of animal heads, textiles, and three sleighs that are unique.
The Viking vessels are wonders similar to the pyramids in Egypt and the grave of Tutankhamun, Gloerstad mentioned.
While the ships will be lifted in their highly protective metal casing, the sleighs are currently being shifted on a rail track, a centimetre by centimetre, to a closed chamber. It took about 17 hours to move the first sleigh 70 meters.
The wood is incredibly fragile: one can make crumbs out of it, and it would fall apart between the fingers,” explained David Hauer, the head engineer. He is supervising this move after years of meticulous planning.
The new museum is expected to open by 2026, 100 years after the ships’ present home was opened, attracting ten times more visitors than initially designed.
Until it closed in September 2021 to permit preparation for the move, it received about 500,000 visitors each year.
In the meantime, Oslo’s tourists have been disappointed.
A US tourist named Shalin Patel informed Reuters that a lot has been heard about it and has been excited to take a look at it.
References: Nasdaq, BD News24, US News
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