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Wood types for Viking Artefacts

Author: Neil Peterson
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Viking to Crusader

Item # Wood Type Date Description
2 Oak 11th C Ship's prow
4 oak 10th C ship bits
5 pine 800-850 2 oars
6 oak 1050-1100 ship's planks
7 aspen 16th C ship's planks
7 spruce 16th C stem, stern, prow
8   850-900 block and cover for oar hole
9   1050-1100 bailer
10 pine 800-850 ship floor board
13   1100-1125 toy boat
14   1075-1100 toy horse
18 yew 1000-1050 walking stick
19 maple 1050 walking stick
20 oak 979 bridge piles
21   11th C skiis
22 pine 12th C ski
23 pine 1170 skiis
40 pine 1100 church moulding
42 pine 13th C bench end
59 ash post 734 bucket (stave built) - osier hoops are joined with a willow catch
59 elm post 734 bowl
59 ash post 734 dough trough
60 deciduous 9th -10th C bowl
61   1200 knife handle
61 birch 1000-1050 ladle
66 oak 9th-11th C 2 oven rakes
69 beech 1000-1050 key
70 birch 11th C Stool (top)
73 hardwood 9th-11th C toy boat
81 oak 734 conical well & ladder
82 oak 700-750 wall planks
83 oak post 734 spade and pitchfork
88 birch 800-1000 arrow shaft
95 oak 1000 chest
96 maple,ash 10th C bowl and lathe cores
127 birch 8th C lathe turned bucket covered in bronze - narrow at bottom
131 yew 750-800 reliquary
159 yew 800-850 17 stave bucket, 2 piece base, 5 brass hoops (2 top, 1 middle, 2 bottom) narrow at bottom
160 pine 800-850 10 stave bucket - wide at bottom, 1 piece bottom
161 oak 800-850 6 plank chest with lid
162 beech 800-850 bed
163 beech 800-850 chair
164 oak 800-850 chest
165 beech 800-850 weaving frame
166 lime? 800-850 animal head posts
167 oak 850-900 2 bed planks
258 yew 11th C rune stick
259 yew 11th C dragon's head
269   8-10th C wood knife handles
272 burr? 8th C bowl
277   10th C figure (god?)
278 spruce 9th C rune stick
279   8-9th C 2 toy swords and toy horse
289   11th C chair?
315 willow   toyboat
315 fir   toy horse
317 alder 10th C bowl
317 larch 10th C spoon
318 spruce 10th C tally stick
321 oak 10th C game board
322 juniper 10th C bundle of branches
339 pine 1000 rune stick
360   10th C wood from ship (800 pieces)
377 boxwood 10-11th C pan pipes
378 maple 10th C spinning top
380 yew, alder 10-11th C cup (yew), bowl (alder)
389   10th C stool
398   11th C crook or finial (heavily carved)
408 ivy/holly? 11th C amulets
419 maple 1000-1050 pen case lid
440 oak 1140s 3 wall planks
441 pine 1130-1160 portal of a church
442 pine 1200 portal of a church
443 pine 1200 lion figure
453 pine 1200 font
454 pine 11th C wall panels
455 oak 12th C plank
457 birch 1150-1200 chair
458 pine 1200 chest
459   1200 bench ends
460 oak 1100 cross
461 aspen, beech 12th C madonna
462 lime 12th C madonna
463 willow 1160 crucifix
464 broad lime 12th C crucifix
465 birch 12th C saint's head
466 oak 1120-1230 relief
467 oak 1150 alter
469   12th C reliquary
471   1180-1185 shrine
476   12th C cross
489   11th C reliquary cross
501   12th C tally stick
502   1200 rune stick
503   11th C rune stick
504   1125-1175 writing tablet
506   1220 rune stick
517 birch 12-13th C document box
559 beech 11th C timbers from sea blockade
561 maple, beech 1000-1050 chair
562 beech 1050 childs chair
563 pine 11th C plank
564   1100-1150 plank
565   11th C chair arm
566 oak,ash 12th C cradle
567   1100 bowl
568   10th C hook
569   1075-1150 spoon
571 birch bark 1025-1075 lid
572   1100-1150 game board
579   1175-1225 carved stick
580 juniper 1100 carved game peg
581 box 12th C calendar stave
617 willow 12th C virgin

Viking Artifacts - A select catalog

Item # Wood Type Date Description
9 oak   Complete shovel cut from a single piece of oak. The straight handle is of circular cross-section, with sloping shoulders to a flat blade. The sides of the blade taper slightly to a straight edge. L 83.8; W 16.8 cm
13     Three wooden arrow-heads cut or broken from their shafts of circular cross-section. The first is itself circular in section (L 8.6; D 2.0 tapering to shaft of 0.9 cm). The second is pentagonal in section (L 9.5; W 1.9 tapering to shaft of D 0.8 cm), and the third has an expanded club-shaped head (L3.8; D 1.5 with shaft of 0.8 cm).
28 Beech, maple 1000-1050 Fragments of a chair of beech and maple from the Thule excavations (1000-50), as reconstructed. The original had a rush seat. H (of back) 75 cm. Similar framed chairs are known from the Norwegian ship-burials
29     Sub-rectangular wooden board (29-5 x 20-5; T 2-0 cm) with corner perforations for four legs (which are modern). The reconstructed height of the stool is c. 19 cm. A three-legged stool is known from Lund (Blomqvist and Martensson 1963, fig. 115), and another four-legged one from Dublin (E71: 10967), both of LVP date. A small bench of similar form (L 92.5 cm), with four legs, was found in the Oseberg ship-burial (Osebergfunnet II, fig. 104).
30 oak 830s Oak chest with iron fittings, which have tinned rivet-heads, from the Oseberg ship-burial (EVP). L 113; H 38 cm. Such chests (Petersen 1951, 448L) would have served for the storage of personal property and valuables, both in the house and whilst traveling (as the Mastermyr tool-chest, [415]); on board ship they may have served, when necessary, as rowing benches.
31 oak, poplar 850-1000 Wooden casket of oak and poplar (the latter probably used for repairs) with fittings (including handle, lock and key) of iron and tin-plated iron, decorated with Pressblech patterns, amongst which is a ribbon-interlace in the Jellinge-Mammen style.
33 oak, ash   Cylindrical wooden box found in fragmentary state ... base consists of a flat disc of oak around which is fitted a thin strip of ash with overlapping ends held together by two vertical rows of 'stitching'; its exterior has lightly incised geometric ornament. H 7.1; D 18. 4 cm.
34   mid 10th-century Oblong rectangular box carved from a single piece of wood with a sliding lid, having incised ornament on all faces including the base.
35 oak, ash 1000-1050 Pail made from ten staves of oak, bound around by three bands of ash; two of the staves (opposite each other) are taller than the others with rounded tops and circular perforations for a handle. A fourth band of ash fits around the inside at the top. The staves were numbered for construction, from one to ten, by shallow borings. H 23; D 34.5 cm. Capacity c. 15 litres.
36   10th/11th century Wooden pail made from twelve staves (two missing), with fitted lid and base. The lid has a central hole which can be covered with a disc, swiveling on an iron pivot; the disc is crudely incised with tendril-like scrolls, having pairs of transverse lines. There is a cylindrical spout fitted towards the edge of the lid, inclined inwards. Two of the staves (opposite each other) are taller than the others; each has a pair of circular perforations for a handle of rope, the remnants of which survived. There is a wooden band around the exterior of the pail at its top and traces of two other bands (missing) around its body. H 30.5; D (base) 36.33 cm.
51 oak 1000-1050 Flat rectangular tray cut from a single piece of oak, with a vertical flat-topped rim (broken in part); at one end there is a handle-like extension with concave sides and a rounded terminal with a gap in the rim forming a spout. At the other end, opposite this 'handle' or spout, there is a transverse perforation through the rim; there is also a hole, drilled into the top edge of the rim. L 48.5; W 24.0; H 3.7 cm.
52 oak   Trencher or hand-shovel cut from a piece of oak. The handle has a faceted rectangular section, with a faceted end, tapering to rounded shoulders. The blade is slightly concave in section and tapers gently to a straight edge. L 32.0; W 14.5 cm.
53 beech 1000-1050 The oval-sectioned knife handle is of beech. L 15.8: L (handle) 9.3; blade (section) 1.0 x 0.5 cm.
56     L-shaped wooden spoon with ornamented handle and small bowl of oval form (broken rim). The handle has a flared profile with a pair of opposed openings, cut out of each edge at its point of maximum width. The central area of the handle has been cut back and a pair of contour grooves incised to give the impression of a border of three raised bands. The bowl and reverse of the handle are both plain. L (handle) 12.5 cm.
57 birch 1000-1050 Birch-wood spoon with oval bowl and irregularly shaped handle tapering from its expanded mid-point. L 16.9 cm.
58   950-1200 Wooden spoon with broad flat handle, tapering to the junction with the bowl of which only a small part is preserved. The front of the handle is ornamented. L 18.6: W 3.3 cm.
60 birch 1000-1050 Ovoid bowl of birch, with rounded sides, plain rim and flattened base; ends slightly raised. H 5.0 - 6.5; D 19.5 x 17.8 cm.
61     Handled bowl or scoop carved from a single piece of wood. One side of the hemispherical bowl is extended into a curving handle terminating in a stylised animal-head, with open jaws. L 37; D 23 cm.
62 ash 950-1200 Ovoid cup or dipper of ash, with rounded sides, plain rim and slightly flattened base; from the rim, at one end, extends a small flat handle with a rounded terminal. H 7.5; D 15.0 x 8.5 cm.
67     Wooden spindle of irregular section, tapering to both ends which have damaged tips. Towards one end there is an impression in the wood of a twisted thread once wound round it. L 17.6 cm.
68 yew   Wooden spindle of yew. L 29.7 cm.
74   750-850 One of two reels, or-'niddy-noddies', for winding wool from the Oseberg ship-burial. They consist of two curving bars of wood linked in the same plane by a transverse bar (c.40 cm long), carved to fit the hand, with incised ornament and a pair of mouldings on either side of the grip. The skein would have been wound from corner to corner, the curvature of the bars allowing it to be slipped off easily on completion.
78     Wooden pin-beater of circular cross-section with pointed ends. L 10.0 cm. The very pointed ends of this pin-beater would have made it equally suitable for use as a thread-picker.
92 yew 850-1000 Rectangular gaming-board carved from yew, with two projecting heads (one human and one animal); the raised border is ornamented with eight panels of interlace- and fret-patterns. The playing-surface is marked out with a grid of forty-nine peg holes (7 x 7). L 24.9; W 24.3 cm.
104     Model boat carved from a single piece of wood, but now in fragments and much damaged except for one end, consisting of a high squared stem projecting beneath the curved lines of the hull. Surviving L 30 cm.
105   11th/12th century Model boat carved from a single piece of wood, but damaged with one end missing. The curved stem projects above the broad and shallow hull, which has a pronounced keel. The stub of the mast survives, stepped centrally; there is a hole through the gunwale on either side for the stays, and another pair of holes at the surviving end of the boat for further stays. Surviving L 11.0; W 4.1 cm.
266 yew   Bow fashioned from a bough of yew. It is more or less straight, but has a slight curve and some lateral distortion; of ovoid section, it is broadest at the centre, tapering to the ends which are outward turned. At one end, there is a rectangular notch in one side, at the point at which the tip begins to incline outwards (some 7 cm from the end); 18.5 cm below the same end, there is a large iron nail on the inside. L 192 cm; Section (centre) 4.0 x 3.2 tapering to 3.0 x 1.8 cm. This is the first complete long-bow to have been discovered in a Viking context, despite the relatively common finds of arrowheads. It is more likely to be typical in form that any of those represented by the three fragments listed by Foote and Wilson (1970, 278).
278 oak   Ship's stem carved from a single piece of oak. It has a v-shaped cross-section with stepped after edges. There are seven steps on each side for the attachment of the strokes by two to five clinker nails. The stem-piece is carved with the continuations of the lines of the clinker planking of the hull, curving upwards and converging at its tip. There is a hole (D 4 cm) through the stem-piece, 12 cm from its forward edge and on a level with the gunwale; it shows no visible signs of wear. The outer curve of the stem is 4.05m long and follows the arc of a circle with a radius of c.3.5 m. L 3.7m.
279 oak   Slender steering-oar made of oak, of asymmetric section with a flat inner edge and a variously curved outer edge; the fore edge is pointed, but the aft edge is square cut. There is a projection from the bottom of the aft edge of the gently flared blade; near its top is a centrally placed perforation (D 4.7 cm) for the suspension of the steering oar. The top is of circular cross-section with two oval perforations for the attachment of the rudder bar. L (overall) 2.80m.
292 beech, ash 750-850 The two pairs of beech wood wheels are connected by axles which are connected by a forked beam; the wheels are spoked and of the same size front and back. The ends of the beam are bolted to the rear axle, leaving the pairs of wheels free to turn independently. Two ash shafts, with finely carved ends, are mounted on the front axle; they are connected by a chain and presumably had outer traces. On each axle is the base for a trestle, each of which terminates in the carving of a man's head; the front trestle is of oak, the rear one of beech. The semi-circular body of the wagon rests within these trestles; it consists of nine boards fitted into two end-pieces and is decorated all over the outside with carvings. The second drawing is of the base of the 'simple' sledge, which is one of the four from the Oseberg ship-burial; it consists of a horizontal frame supported on vertical struts, morticed into the runners; it is provided with a shaft so that it could be drawn by a pair of horses. As with all the Oseberg sledges, the box-like body simply rested on the undercarriage. The other Oseberg sledges are heavier and more ornate versions of the 'simple' sledge, which is paralleled in the Gokstad ship-burial.
295   850-1000 Harness-bow consisting of nine gilt-bronze mounts riveted to a modern wooden bow,
297   990-1150 Ski consisting of a single plank of wood (now in three pieces), with its pointed tip complete, but with a damaged rear end from which a sample for radio-carbon dating has since been cut. At the centre of the ski is a rectangular raised platform for the foot, with a lateral oblong perforation for the strap. The rest of the upper surface is ornamented with three pairs of grooves running along either side. There is a wide central groove on the underside. L 194; W 12.5 cm.
317   10th/11th century Oblong sliding-lid for a pen-case. L 33.3 cm.
318 birch 850-1000 Bucket hollowed out of birch, with a fitted bottom (now missing); it has bronze fittings and is covered with tinned bronze sheets which have incised ornament. H(rim) 18.5; D(rim) 17.3 x 19.5; D (base) 14.0 cm (as reconstructed).
415 oak 950-1200 Wooden chest found with the largest-known collection of Viking Period tools. Rectangular wooden chest of oak boards with iron fittings including a lock. L 90; H 30cm.
451 ash, alder c. 1000 Small turned bowl of ash, discarded before the interior had been finished and the knob trimmed off the base. There is a raised band (1.6 cm wide) forming the outside of the rim. Secondarily distorted into an oval: 12.5 x 9.5 cm. Sub-conical turning-core of alder, with two parallel incisions on the underside and an everted top. D 6.6; H 3.8 cm.
452 ash, yew c. 1000 Shallow turned bowl of ash, with four pairs of repair holes (two of which are still threaded with bronze wires) made to close a crack. D 18.0 cm. Turned cup of yew of which approximately half survives. It is ornamented with a pair of parallel lines incised immediately below the rim; there is also a line around the underside of the base. H 8.3; W 11.6 cm.
453   11th century Wooden bar carved with outward-looking bird's-head terminals in the Ringerike style. The birds' crests, with their densely interlaced tendril-clusters, are carved in openwork with incised details. L 27 cm.
454   13th century Plank of carved wood; one end is missing, as is its upper edge. The intact left-hand end has a rebate 5cm wide, with a triangular extension into the ornamented field. The extension and part of the rebate is filled with the remains of a fillet attached to the plank. L 55.0; W 16.5; T 1.8 cm.
475   850-1200 Iron awl of rectangular section tapering to a point, in a cylindrical wooden handle. L 9.7cm.
476 Mountain maple   Last of mountain maple for child-sized shoe, with pointed toe and squared-off heel. L 13.5 cm.
497   950-1200 This casket (destroyed in the Second World War) was made from wood overlaid with twenty-two sheets of elk-antler
501   950-1200 Portal, door, and two planks, forming part of a stave church
507 yew 950-1200 The reliquary consists of a gabled box of yew wood with gilt bronze and enamelled mounts.
512     Carved wooden phallus, broken at its base. Present L 23 cm.
539 fir 1000-1050 Vertical plank of fir (15296b), with incised ornament on the front; the reverse is plain L 73.8; W 23.5; T 2.5 cm. Vertical plank of fir (15296a), cut off at top and bottom, with trimmed sides. L 43.8; W 15.3; T 2.0 cm. From Flatatunga in northern Iceland...the fir-wood must have been either driftwood or imported timber.
      Updated: 4 Dec, 2007
Text © Neil Peterson, 2006
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