Ladby ship

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Burial mound above the Ladby ship
Uncovered remains of the ship's hull
Scorpionfish Steven
Iron anchor of the Viking ship

The Ladby ship ( Danish Ladbyskibet ) is the archaeological find of a Viking ship in a ship's grave in Denmark . Based on the grave goods , a chief's grave is concluded, in which a Viking was buried around 925 .

The Ladby Viking Ship can be viewed at the Ladby Viking Museum. It was uncovered, researched and documented between 1934 and 1937 by the conservator Gustav Rosenberg and the pharmacist Poul Helweg Mikkelsen near the Kerteminde Fjord in northeastern Funen . The only ship grave in Denmark from the Viking Age that has been found for a long time is covered by a burial mound and oriented almost exactly in a north-south direction. In contrast to the ship burial of Haithabu from the second half of the 9th century, in which a long ship covers a wooden burial chamber, the ladby ship rests on its keel . In both cases horses are found as grave goods.

The ship

Only the imprint in the earth and iron nails of the planking have survived from the ship. Repair points indicate that it was in use and not made specifically for burial. The hull was about 22 m long and 3 m wide. At a midship height of around one meter, the vessel had a draft of 50 cm. Above the flat keel there were seven oak planks of different widths on each side . In total the ship had room for 32 rowers , 16 belts served. Remnants of a ship's mast have not survived, but shroud rings . It can therefore be assumed that it was only sailed in a light breeze , otherwise there was a risk of capsizing due to the slender hull . The advantage of the low freeboard and the slim hull shape was that the ship was ideal for rowing.

The stems of the ship were decorated: on the fore stem there were ten small, rolled up iron ribbons in a row, probably mane curls on the neck of a carved dragon's head . On the stern there were crooked iron fittings with lance-like iron tips that may have depicted the tail (see also the illustration of a dragon ship in the article Viking Ship ).

In addition, there was a completely undamaged, 1.36 m long iron anchor with an approximately ten meter long anchor chain on the stem .


Skeletal remains

The burial place of the Viking prince was probably behind the middle of the ship; However, no human skeletal remains have survived as the ship's grave was ravaged by grave robbers . The stern was badly damaged by this ancient grave robbery.

Eleven relatively small horse skeletons were found in the intact foredeck; three on starboard , two on the keel, six on port . One of them was in a special position: It was in the middle of the ship near the actual grave and it can be assumed that it was a riding horse. Below the horse skeletons were the skeletons of dogs.

Riding harness and accessories

What was found was the harness of a riding horse: the metal parts were made of iron with a decoration made of tin and copper . The straps were fitted with fine fittings covered with bronze or pewter. A rein consisted of small iron chain links that were connected with bronze balls. Other reins had iron rings, which were connected by pieces of strap with bronze-clad iron fittings and tight-fitting small pewter buttons. In addition, three intact sets of harnesses were found, consisting of stirrups, head harness, bridle, reins, fittings and buckles for leather straps. It was also Hundegeschirr found for four hunting dogs, small on their leather straps, ornamental, bronze balls were attached as a slide and rotating rings of gilded bronze plates on the dog collars.


Coarser and finer textile remnants, braided gold threads, small tassels made of silver threads and small plates of sheet gold surrounded by gold and silver threads were found. This suggests precious clothing. Feathers, down and tufts of hair were also found. Whether this was once a pillow filling cannot be determined with certainty.

Weapons and implements

No sword has survived , just an ordinary shield boss and 45 arrowheads outside the boat rail . Behind the horses on the starboard side was a small iron ax. Parts of silver-plated iron bars with button-like elevations made of solid silver, which are entirely decorated with leaf and animal notifications, have also been excavated.

Other grave goods

A large iron-studded wooden vessel, coarser kitchen utensils, a bronze bowl and plates made of solid silver with incised ribbon loops and gilded edges were found on the tableware.


  • Knud Thorvildsen: The Viking Ship from Ladby . Copenhagen 1967.
  • Karsten Kjer Michaelsen: Politics bog om Danmarks oldtid . Copenhagen 2002 ISBN 87-567-6458-8 , p. 153
  • AC Sørensen: Ladby - A Danish Ship Grave from the Viking Age . Roskilde: Viking Ship Museum. 2001

Individual evidence

  1. cf. The Ladby Viking Museum. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on September 29, 2007 ; Retrieved November 11, 2010 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Ladby. A Danish ship-grave from the Viking Age., accessed November 11, 2010 .
  3. Peter Shenk: To Valhalla by Horseback? - Horse Burial in Scandinavia during the Viking Age. (Word, 330 KB) Retrieved November 11, 2010 (English, pp. 54f).
  4. According to the latest findings, it should not have been a grave robber, but an exhumation. It can be assumed that the dead man was "Grom the Old", who was mistakenly believed to be in the north hill of Jelling. The destruction may also have taken place in the context of a reburial ( translatio ) in a Christian grave, cf.

Web links

Commons : Ladby ship  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 55 ° 26 ′ 43.6 ″  N , 10 ° 36 ′ 54.6 ″  E