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Balladoole Viking Boat Burial Clench Nails

Date made: Viking: 800-1265

Description: These are some of over 300 nails used to build a Viking ship. They are more than one thousand years old and were found in the grave of a Viking at Balladoole. The oak timbers of the ship have long since rotted away, but it s estimated that the clinker-built boat was between 9-11m long and was used to trade around the coast of the Island and the Irish Sea.

The nails have circular heads, rectangular washers and some have remains of the boat planks still attached.

The nails are ‘clench’ nails. They were driven through the timber of the ship from the outside and a small square metal plate was placed over the point of the nail and the pointed end was then hammered flat. This technique ‘clenched’ the timbers of the ship together.

Ships enabled the Vikings to travel, to trade, to conquer and to settle. Ships were designed to be strong enough to travel oceans, but light enough to be drawn up on to beaches to land and to be sailed up rivers. These vessels took the Vikings and their ideas on trade, finance, religion, art and settlement all over Europe, into Asia and across to America. Without ships, there would have been no Viking empire.

See 1966-0372/0001 - /00034 for associated finds

Measurements: c.30mm diameter x c.50mm long

Materials: Iron

Date found: 1945

Object name: clench nail

Collection: Archaeology Collection

ID number: 1966-0372/01


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