Year: 10TH CENTURY AFTER JESUS CHRIST
Viking ships were marine vessels of unique structure, built by the Vikings during the Viking Age.
The boat-types were quite varied, depending on what the ship was intended for but they were generally characterized as being slender and flexible boats, with symmetrical ends with true keel. They were clinker built, which is the overlapping of planks riveted together. Some might have had a dragon’s head or other circular object protruding from the bow and stern for design, although this is only inferred from historical sources. Viking ships were not just used for their military prowess but for long-distance trade, exploration and colonization.
In the literature, Viking ships are usually seen divided into two broad categories: merchant ships and warships. These categories are overlapping; some kinds of merchant ships, built for transporting cargo specifically, could also be used as warships. The majority of Viking ships were designed for sailing rivers, fjords, and coastal waters, while a few types, such as the knarr, could navigate the open sea and even the ocean. The Viking ships ranged from the Baltic Sea to far from the Scandinavian homelands, to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Newfoundland, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and Africa.
Viking ships varied from other contemporary ships, being generally more seaworthy and lighter. This was achieved through use of clinker (lapstrake) construction. The planks from which Viking vessels were constructed were rived (split) from large, old-growth trees especially oaks. A ship’s hull could be as thin as one inch (2.5 cm), as a split plank is stronger than a sawed plank found in lcraft.
Working up from a stout oaken keel, the shipwrights would rivet the planks together using wrought iron rivets and roves. Ribs maintained the shape of the hull sides. Each tier of planks overlapped the one below, and waterproof caulking was used between planks to create a strong but supple hull.
Remarkably large vessels could be constructed using traditional clinker construction. Dragon-ships carrying 100 warriors were not uncommon.
Furthermore, during the early Viking Age, oar ports replaced rowlocks, allowing oars to be stored while the ship was at sail and to provide better angles for rowing. The largest ships of the era could travel five to six knots using oar power and up to ten knots under sail.