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In 1896 an extraordinary find was made at Bunes in Toftevågen at Halsnøya. During the draining of a bog, large oak logs were unearthed, so big that it was impossible to hold around them. At the bottom of the shallows the agricultural candidate, Silseth from Toftevåg, discovered the ribs of a boat, the size of a four-oared boat.

The Viking Ship finds of Gokstad and Oseberg had opened our eyes to the amazing ship-building technique of the Vikings 1000 years back in time, but for a long time we knew little of vessels and boat-building even further back in time. The boat find at Bunes became a scientific sensation when Håkon Shetelig examined it in 1903. It turned out to be the remains of one of the oldest boats that we know from the Nordic countries, of the same age as the boat finds in Nydam in Denmark.

Parts of a couple of boat planks, an oarlock and the rib were taken care of and are now in Bergen Maritime Museum.

The oarlock proves that it has been a rowing boat. The planks were not riveted, but have been sown together, probably with a rope of raffia. Between them were stuffed pieces of red woollen material dipped in tar, for caulking.

A radiological dating of wood from one of the planks shows that the boat was probably built around early Roman times between 270 and 400 years BC.

  • Færøyvik, B.: Halsnøy-baaten. Norrøna bragarskrá 8. árg. 1934.
  • Magnus, B.: Halsnøybåtens tekstiler. Arkeo 1980, s.22-25.
  • Myhre, B.: Ny datering av våre eldste båter. Arkeo 1980, s. 27-30.