Friday, June 17, 2005


Carved drawing of a great ship found near highway


June 15, 2005

This rock bears a magnificent helleristning, ancient rock
carving. Here a grand boat can be seen.

For the first time archeologists in Norway have been able to reveal a large surface area linked to known helleristninger - rock carvings - and the dig has produced results.

Traces of two 12-15 meter (39-49 foot) long constructions have come to light in the middle of the key area for rock engravings in Østfold County, near Solbergkrysset in Skjeberg. A few meters to the side of the longhouses lies a large stone bearing carved drawings of a great ship and a rider on a horse.

"Before we had indications of a dwelling from a posthole. But the find of two fine longhouses is much more than we could have dared to predict," said archeologist Gro Anita Bårdseth of the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo and head of the E6 project.

"The houses are probably built during the Roman iron age, in the first few centuries AD. In one of the houses we have found an iron knife, ceramics and burnt animal bone, the remains of a ritual burial of sacrifices to protect the house and its inhabitants," Bårdseth said.

Six pairs of holes for supporting posts and two fireplaces, plus a cooking hollow just outside a house, have been found.
The archeologists believe the rock carvings came first, possibly around 500 BC or earlier. The ship has a fine, rich style and indicates many rowers. The carving of a man on horseback is probably newer, and may be contemporary with the houses.

The longhouses are in the middle of a planned four-lane E6 and so the excavation has taken place. The helleristning of the rider will be cut out of the rock and preserved while the ship will be covered and protected on site.


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