15.05.2008 - Emajõgi River Barge Society is beginning construction of a replica Viking barge 10.10

On the morning of Thursday, 15 May, a slender oak was felled in Lääne-Viru County in the Triigi forest district of the State Forest Management Centre (RMK), which will become the keel of the future Viking ship. Just as they did with the construction of the barge “Jõmmu,” the State Forest Management Centre will be providing support for the undertaking by supplying wood materials for the construction of the ship.

The launch of the Viking barge is set for the beginning of the summer of 2009 and its construction can be viewed at the Small Barge Yard in Tartu by all who are interested. In addition to travelling by water, there are plans to transport the Viking barge on the ground, with a trailer, to different locations across Estonia.

The Viking barge is a replica of a type of ship which was most probably used in the larger rivers and lakes in Estonia centuries before the town of Tartu was first mentioned in 1030. The exact type of the ship is unknown since no ancient ship wrecks have been found here.

The ship builders of the Emajõgi River Barge Society have held detailed construction related consultations with the Estonian State Maritime Museum, the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde and Norwegian Viking ship specialists. A result of the negotiation was the decision to build an eastern type Viking ship, which means that the keel of the ship, the stern and curves will be made from oak, and the planks mostly from pine. During the construction of the ship it is planned to use authentic building methods; a majority of the required timber, iron and textiles details will be manufactured on site at the Small Barge Yard.

The construction of the Viking barge is part of a larger project. In addition, it is planned to prepare a travelling exhibition to introduce the history of Estonian inland waterways together with mobile workshops – a carpenter’s workshop, tar making shop, blacksmith’s shop and rope making shop, and to prepare a specially constructed trailer for the transportation of the Viking barge and the workshops. Improvements are being made to the guest facilities at the Small Barge Yard. Then all those who are interested will be able to come and visit the Small Barge Yard or festivals where the “Travelling Barge Yard” is stopping at a particular moment, to learn about the history of Estonia’s inland waterways, and to try their hand at various handicrafts and improve their skills.

The ship’s replica is being financed by the small project programme for increasing regional competitiveness, a major sponsor is the town of Tartu. In addition, AleCoq, Eesti Energia, Televõrgu AS and Bestnet AS are planning to support the undertaking.

The Vikings were frequent visitors to the Estonian territory already in the 8th century, and the town of Irboska, currently the Izborsk fortress, was founded by them and is located in the immediate vicinity of the southern shore of Lake Pihkva, and during the time of the Vikings, the city of Novgorod to the east of Lake Peipus, along the shores of Lake Ilmen, also became a large centre. Known evidence regarding the fruitful activities of Vikings here and the fact that they were able to easily drag their small ships over obstacles, allows it to be stated that on Lake Peipus and the River Emajõgi seagoing vessels with similar bottoms were sailed.

Additional information:
Priit Jagomägi
Emajõgi River Barge Society
+372 5559 6788
E-mail: hansalodi@gmail.com