Two of the rowlocks which have been found in the bogs. (Svein Skare)
SMALL BOATS IN THE IRON AGEAt Mangersnes, in a bog just by the sea, there is a layer about one metre thick with wood that has traces of cutting, shavings, branches and sticks. Amongst these lie whole and damaged parts of boats and boat gear.
The wood must be the remains from the building and repair of boats. Radio dating of the wood gave a date of 200 AD. Two rowlocks are dated to the period 30BC to 250 AD and 560 to 670 AD. The dating indicates that there must have been activity here over a longer period, and this puts the boat finds amongst the oldest in the west of Norway.
Rowlocks and the remains of oars tell us that rowing boats were made here. Cross ribs and remains of rope show that the ribs were fastened to the boat deck with lime rope. The ribs have a triangular cross-section with the tips towards the boat deck. The fastenings went through a hole in the cross-ribs and a hole in the gouged out clamps in the boat deck. The remains of such a clamp have been found. The light construction made the boat supple and smooth, but at the same time, weak. They must have been first and foremost light rowing boats. Until now no remains of the boat decks have been found, and we do not know how these were fastened. Difference sizes of cross ribs show that boats of different sizes were built, small ones from 3 to 4 metres long up to boats of 10 to 15 metres. No finds have been made which would indicate knowledge of sails or sailing rig. These were boats for daily use, and they were rowed, in contrast to the boats we see on rock paintings.
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