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Specialization in Ship Construction

 
Ottar - the replica of the Cargo Ship Skuldalev 1

There is a noticeable increase in specialization in ship building as we reach the later Viking Period. From the late tenth century, the beam/length index of the ships fall into a division between cargo ships and personnel carriers. p>

The cargo ships develop into broad vessels that can carry a considerable amount of cargo, yet can be manned by a small crew; while the personnel carriers develop into narrow vessels of a length great enough to carry numbers of warriors and to sail at great speed. (see : Beam - Length index Values)

This division is extremely noticeable when one considers the amidships sections of the various vessels. (see : Reconstructed Amidships Sections of Ships)

However, one must bear in mind that the dating of this development may be biased by the fact that the ships that we have from the earlier period tend to be ships selected for funerary use; while those from the later period tend to represent ships from everyday usage – ships lost by accident, or in warfare, or ships that have been deliberately sunk, such as the Skuldelev ships.

 

 


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