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The Ship Grave

Step into the darkness and experience The Ladby ship, Denmark’s only Viking ship grave


What the Mould was hiding…

The main attraction at the Viking Museum Ladby is the Viking Ship Grave. Also referred to as the ‘Ladby Ship’, it was discovered in 1935 along with 11 smaller graves, which contained various grave goods. Archaeological studies have established that, in or around 925 AD, the Viking ship was pulled ashore and the deceased king was then buried in it in a mound with his horses, dogs, and other precious belongings.

As you enter the burial mound and things get darker, you immediately sense the very special atmosphere of the Ladby King’s grave. Once your eyes have gotten used to the darkness, you catch your first sight of the burial ship and its shape and structure, including the 2,000+ nails and spikes that hold it together.

The ship is almost 22 metres long and about 3 metres wide. It was built for 30-32 oarsmen and was fitted with a sail. Nothing of the sail or mast remains, but 7 rigging rings roughly in the middle of the ship along the supposed gunwale establish that the ship was seaworthy. It is estimated that the sail was 60 m2.

The prow was shaped like a dragon’s head with a main of iron curls, and the aft stern was a curved dragon’s tail. The ship’s incredibly well-preserved anchor and anchor chain, and remnants of rigging, are located at the prow. The ship also contains the remains of the horses and dogs that accompanied the king on his final voyage.

The grave goods

Various victims and belongings were seen in the ship’s grave. Most striking are the horse and dog bones in the bow of the ship. There are a total of 11 horse skeletons, and probably 4-5 dogs. The horses are reminiscent of today’s Icelandic horses. One of them stands out, as it is the only one equipped with a harness. Studies of teeth and bones suggest that the dogs were of different sizes.

Over 600 objects or fragments of objects were found in the ship’s grave. Among the most significant objects are a silver belt buckle, pieces of a silver plate, a bronze dish, brackets and a bronze collection piece for a dog leash with gilding, as well as parts of the deceased’s distinguished clothing with, among other things, sewn-in gold threads. Other items include spurs and stirrups, a shield bump, an axe, and a bundle of 45 arrowheads.

Place: The Viking Museum Ladby,
Vikingevej 123, 5300 Kerteminde
Time: During opening hours

Place: The Viking Museum Ladby,
Vikingevej 123, 5300 Kerteminde
Time: During opening hours


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