1,000-year-old ship found underneath ground on Norwegian island

A ship likely to have built by the Vikings has been found by Norwegian researchers using georadar.

1,000-year-old ship found underneath ground on Norwegian island
Edøy Old Church. Photo: Photo: kjelljoran/Creative Commons

The vessel, which could also date from the pre-Viking era, was discovered in the western Møre and Romsdal county, NRK reports.

Climate minister Ola Elvestuen told the broadcaster that the discovery was of “both national and international significance”.

Archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) uncovered traces of the ship on the island of Edøy.

A high-resolution georadar “detected traces of a ship burial and a settlement that probably dates to the Merovingian or Viking Period at Edøy,” NIKU writes on its website.

Edøy is located on the shipping lane to Trondheim, close to where early king Harald Fairhair is said to have fought two sea battles, winning royal power in Norway in the late 800s.

“This is incredibly exciting. And again, it’s the technology that helps us find yet another ship. As the technology is making leaps forward, we are learning more and more about our past,” Knut Paasche, head of the Department of Digital Archaeology at NIKU and an expert on Viking ships, said via the institute’s website.

“It is too early to say something certain about the date of the ship, but we know that it is more than 1,000 years old,” Paasche told NRK.

Tove-Lise Torve, head of the Møre and Romsdal county administration, expressed her excitement about the discovery, which she did not happen by “chance”.

“This is not a chance discovery, but a result of systematic work,” Torve said via press release, in reference to a county-funded research and development project.

“Edøy is one of the key sites along the coastal pilgrimage trail, and we have planned to establish a regional coastal pilgrimage centre here for our county and (neighbouring county) Trøndelag. This discovery tells us that we have chosen the right place,” she added.

The remains of the ship are located just below the topsoil in an area where there was previously a burial mound, the institute writes on its website.

“The length of the keel indicates that the ship may have been a total of 16-17 meters long,” Paasche said.

In addition to the ship, the archaeologists also noted traces of settlements in the data, but are so-far yet to date these.

The georadar surveys at Edøy were conducted as a collaboration between Møre and Romsdal County, the local municipality Smøla, and NIKU.

READ ALSO: Norwegian Game of Thrones actor to make 'True Viking' reality show

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France to compensate relatives of Algerian Harki fighters

France has paved the way towards paying reparations to more relatives of Algerians who sided with France in their country's independence war but were then interned in French camps.

France to compensate relatives of Algerian Harki fighters

More than 200,000 Algerians fought with the French army in the war that pitted Algerian independence fighters against their French colonial masters from 1954 to 1962.

At the end of the war, the French government left the loyalist fighters known as Harkis to fend for themselves, despite earlier promises it would look after them.

Trapped in Algeria, many were massacred as the new authorities took revenge.

Thousands of others who fled to France were held in camps, often with their families, in deplorable conditions that an AFP investigation recently found led to the deaths of dozens of children, most of them babies.

READ ALSO Who are the Harkis and why are they still a sore subject in France?

French President Emmanuel Macron in 2021 asked for “forgiveness” on behalf of his country for abandoning the Harkis and their families after independence.

The following year, a law was passed to recognise the state’s responsibility for the “indignity of the hosting and living conditions on its territory”, which caused “exclusion, suffering and lasting trauma”, and recognised the right to reparations for those who had lived in 89 of the internment camps.

But following a new report, 45 new sites – including military camps, slums and shacks – were added on Monday to that list of places the Harkis and their relatives were forced to live, the government said.

Now “up to 14,000 (more) people could receive compensation after transiting through one of these structures,” it said, signalling possible reparations for both the Harkis and their descendants.

Secretary of state Patricia Miralles said the decision hoped to “make amends for a new injustice, including in regions where until now the prejudices suffered by the Harkis living there were not recognised”.

Macron has spoken out on a number of France’s unresolved colonial legacies, including nuclear testing in Polynesia, its role in the Rwandan genocide and war crimes in Algeria.