Thursday, April 09, 2009

Viking Age Tents - Oseberg evidence

(I have not been posting regularly or evenly over the last month, and see my readers are suffering because of this. As a tid bit, I offer this - prepared for my recent session at Forward Into the Past)

Image above - the tent frame pieces found in the Oseberg ship burial (circa 825).

This is a direct scan of the illustration from the original primary report. This was published back near the turn of 1900, in Norwegian, and follow that older style (massive text, few illustrations, hardly any photographs).
I have taken the scaled drawing and shifted the individual pieces around to match them by length and to group them into possible tent frames. (The original order in the drawing is indicated by the letters). What you get is a clear set of nine beams for the first tent. One set would require four similar sized (here with matching carvings) plank uprights, with another pair of bottom end planks. The triangles formed by each group of three would be joined by three beams, an upper ridge pole and a pair on each bottom side. The ridge pole does not need to be the same length as the lower beams (those two have to be identical). If the lower beams are longer, the tent frame will angle in towards the top, which does improve the stability of the structure (but uses more cloth for the cover).

There is a second possible grouping for a slightly smaller tent frame. At least there are clearly a matched group of four carved uprights. When assembling the other pieces, its clear that these do not match up in lengths into a completed frame.

If readers are interested in building a version of these artifact tents for themselves, I have (long) had a set of plans published over on the Norse Encampment web site. This is for a 10 x 10 base version (considerably smaller than the original above).

1 comment:

Thorbjorn Thunderbunny said...

I love your work! I am trying to collect all the data I can regarding the 3rd Oseberg tent (the house tent). Last time I looked at the Osebergfundett, I only copied the pages that had pics or were in english. This is lacking info regarding which pieces had holes, mortice, tendon, etc. Any tips would be helpful.


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE