An archaeologist using radar technology said Monday he has found the outline of what he believes is a 1,000-year-old Viking longship under a pub car park in north-west England.
Professor Stephen Harding used Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to trace the outline of a vessel matching the scale and shape of a longship, perhaps from the time Vikings settled in Meols, on the Wirral peninsula in Merseyside.
Meols has one of Britain’s best preserved Viking settlements, buried deep beneath the village and nearby coastal defences.
Harding, from the University of Nottingham in east central England, is now seeking funds to pay for an archaeological dig to search for the vessel which lies beneath two-to-three metres of waterlogged clay.
“The next stage is the big one. Using the GPR technique only cost 450 pounds but we have to think carefully about what to do next,” Harding said.
“Although we still don’t know what sort of vessel it is, it’s very old for sure and its Nordic clinker design, position and location suggests it may be a transport vessel from the Viking settlement period if not long afterwards.”
The ship was first uncovered in 1938 when the Railway Inn was demolished and rebuilt further away from the road, with the site of the old pub turned into a car park.
Workers unearthed part of an old clinker-built vessel but were told by the foreman to cover it over again to keep construction on course.
Harding said he believes it might be possible to access the vessel from the pub cellar, where the public could eventually view it.
Dr R Philpott
For a more balanced view of this highly speculative and inaccurat account see http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/archaeology/field/projects/meols/viking_boat.aspx
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