Norwegian Maritime Museum

Ancient ships found under Oslo mud

From The International Herald Tribune

The largest collection of antique shipwrecks ever found in Norway has been discovered under mud at the building site for a new highway tunnel in Oslo, the project's lead archaeologist said Friday.

Jostein Gundersen said at least nine wooden boats, the largest being 17 meters (56 feet) long, were found well preserved nearly 400 years after they sank at Bjoervika, an Oslo inlet near the new national opera house.

"For us, this is a sensation," he told The Associated Press. "There has never been a find of so many boats and in such good condition at one site in Norway."

The wrecks were remarkably well preserved because they had been covered in mud and fresh water, where river waters run into the sea, he said.

"We have a fantastic opportunity to learn more about old shipbuilding techniques and the old harbors," said Gundersen of the Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo.