The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and Underwater Exploration (1985) 14.2: 119-142

Sewn boats of the North: A preliminary catalogue with introductory comments. Part 2*

Christer Westerdahl

University of Umeå, Department of Archaeology, S-901 87 Umea, Sweden



Northern Sweden (mostly Lappland) The finds and reports of sewn boats of Northern Sweden in alphabetical order are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Finds and reports of sewn boats in Northern Sweden




No. in the catalogue



32, 33a,33b

Norra Volmsjö






























Giltjaur (Jiltjer)


Stora Lögdasjön




Stora Sjöfallet




Storbäck (Lilla Arksjön)










Jiltjer (Giltjaur)










Svartbergets fäbodar






Lilla Arksjön (Storbäck)












Lögdasjön, Stora


Tuggen (Lycksele)
















Västra Kikkejaur















la. Mortsjön (lake), Vängel, parish of Fjällsjö, Ångermanland.

Oral statement from 1931 (ULMA 3220: 3, p. 12-13). Fragments of boats sewn together with birch root fibres.

1b. Dragasjön (lake), Vängel, parish of Fjällsjö, Ångermanland.

The same source as No. la. Fragments of a boat, sewn together with birch root fibres.

1c. Tomasflon (bog), parish of Junsele, Ångermanland.

Oral report of a birch bark boat, found around 1928-1930, while digging a drainage ditch. The description fits well with the other reported birch bark boats (Nos. 2b, 28b), where details are available. Interview by the author, 1982. (Westerdahl, mid).

2a. Ångermanälven (river), parish of Åsele (the parish area as of 1743), Lappland.

Statement of sewn boats as common usage in Ehrenmalm (1743: 96-99).

2b. Svartberg(et)s fäbodar (lake at a chalet, Scott. shieling), parish of Åsele, Lappland.

Oral report of a birch bark boat, found in 1889-1890, in an interview made by M. Möller for the Nordiska Museet, Stockholm, in 1928. The details seem to fit Nos 1c and 28b (Eskerod, 1956: 77ff.) In Part 1, Fig. 8, marked A. (Westerdahl, 19826).

3a. Norra Volmsjö, parish of Fredrika, Lappland.

Fragments of three strakes, sewn together with root fibres and hemp thread, found in a 'stone heap' in the forest. Preserved as Inv. No. 5106 of the Västerbottens museum, the regional museum in Umea. Most probably remains of a small boat of the Linnaeus type (cf. No. 38): the other alternative being a Saami pulka or ackja (Lappland sleigh types), which normally were built of sturdier planks—cf. Norway No. 1 and Wahlberg (1956).

3b. Viskasjön (lake), Fäbodsundet, parish of Fredrika, Lappland.

Oral tradition of the foundering of a sewn boat. The simple ritual at the funeral of the drowned Saami family has long since been remembered, in fact, in the way of a migration tale (ULMA 1427:13).

3c. (Stora) Lögdasjön (lake), parish of Fredrika, Lappland.

Saami fisherman with a 'root-braided' boat preserved in oral tradition (ULMA 9180: 17). A similar description of another boat find in Northern Lappland mentioned by Jansson (1979).

4. Bjurholm, parish of, Ångermanland.

Oral report of a find, not preserved, which evidently had only repair work done in a sewing technique. Courtesy of Per Uno Ågren, Västerbottens Museum, Umea.

5. Degerfors, parish of, Ekträsk, Västerbotten.

Oral statement on a sewn boat (ULMA 1805: 3), found in 1878-1879, with running stitches of double hemp threads, made in the traditional shoemaker's style (Fig. 1). Mentioned by Ågren (1971).

6. Halvträsksjön (lake), Siksele, parish of Lycksele, Lappland.

Undecorated (as compared with Nos 7 and 18) rib of 'hardwood', with lashing holes, but no immediate evidence of sewn strakes. However, it is highly probable that it belonged to a sewn boat. Inv. No. 20 229 of the Statens Historiska Museum (National Museum of Antiquities) of Stockholm. Dated by pollen analysis to the Early Iron Age (Granlund, 1933). The method may be both difficult and doubtful in dating wooden artifacts. Ellmers (1972, No. 122), Oldeberg (1956: 240).

7. Lilla Arksjön (lake/bog), Storbäck, parish of Dorotea, Lappland.

Partly decorated rib, with holes for lashing, but no immediate evidence for sewing (cf. Nos 6 and 18). Documented by the Statens Historiska Museum (National Museum of Antiquities) of Stockholm—photos Nos 536: 35-46, but still evidently private property. Manker (1947: 499;

1953: 205), Oldeberg (1956: 240 fig. 15, 233).

8. Kultsjön (lake), parish of Vilhelmina, Lappland.

8a. Oral report of a partly sewn boat (maybe only the rowlocks?) (ULMA 12191).

8b. Oral report of a birch bark boat, of which a fragment was observed (ULMA 210 19:19). Possibly associated with a ritual route to the shaman (Saamish nåjd) island of Trumholmen (Drum Island—Saamish Gåbdesuolo) referring to a shaman divination drum.

8c. Oral tradition of a weak, probably birch bark, Saami boat, being rammed and sunk in self-defence by a (Saami) settler, equipped with a plank-built boat (ULMA 210 19: 5-7) (Westerdahl 1982&).

9. Dikanäs, parish of Vilhelmina, Lappland.

Oral report by a person in the area (geographically unspecified) who had seen sewn boats (ULMA 199 66:2).

10. Stöksjön (lake), parish of Vilhelmina, Lappland.

Oral report of a boat, partly sewn, partly treenailed (ULMA 210 19:19).


Figure 1. Orally attested sewing technique in Swedish Lappland: redrawn sketch by author, based on Sweden No. 5 (ULMA 1805:3). Skåra— groove, hal—hole.


11.Rekansjon (lake) Dorris, parish of Vilhelmina, Lappland.

Oral tradition of a sewn boat being built and used in this lake by the first settler in the village, who was himself a Saami, but a second generation farmer. Since the facts of the time of settlement are well known, it seems reasonable to propose a building year around 1840-1850 (e.g. ULMA 194 66:3).

12. Stor-Dainan (lake), parish of Vilhelmina, Lappland.

Oral report of a sewn boat on the beach, being destroyed by a Saami youngster around 1914 (ULMA 12191 and in an interview by the author in 1981).

13. Bak- Dainan (lake), parish of Vilhelmina, Lappland.

Oral report of sewn boat fragments having been burnt around 1925, to make coffee during a hunting trip. The author in an interview in 1980.

14. Metsjön (lake), Rödingträsk, parish of Stensele, Lappland.

Oral report of fragments of a sewn boat (ULMA 121 91).

15. Nordansjö, parish of Vilhelmina, Lappland.

Oral report of sewn boats in this area(DAUM Gr 505 A).

16. Lomtjärn (lake), Grannäs, parish of Stensele, Lappland.

Oral report of fragments of a sewn boat (DAUM 552).

17. The area of Malå, parish of, Lappland.

17a. Kokträsk, parish of Malå.

Oral report of a sewn boat in a small lake, recorded by Olavi Korhonen, DAUM, in 1981.

18. Tjautjer (lake), Gråträsk, parish of Piteå landsförsamling (rural Piteå), Västerbotten (administrative county of Norrbotten).

Decorated rib with lashing holes, but without specific evidence of sewing (cf. Nos 6 and 7), the pattern of the ornaments reminiscent of early-medieval finds of Southern Sweden. Part of a greater find of mostly wooden objects. Inv. No. 180.22 of the Statens Historiska Museum (National Museum of Antiquities), Stockholm. Fig. 2. Oldeberg 1956: 239f, 227 fig. 3, 233 fig. 14 (fig. 15 concerns No. 7 of this catalogue, 235 figs 16-17).

Figure 2. Ornament on a bulkhead-like rib of the Tjautjer Saami boat, (Sweden No. 18). Oldeberg (1956)

19. Malören (island of Bothnia Bay), parish of Haparanda, Västerbotten (administrative county of Norrbotten).

Source: Jean Francois Regnard, in Oeuvres de M. Regnard (edition of 1731, Paris: 96-97) during his journey in 1681:

'nous nous trouvames a la hauteur de Malhurn, petite isle a huit milles de Torno, il en sortit des Pescheurs dans une petite Barque, aussi mince quej'en aye vue de ma vie, dont les planches etoient cousues ensemble a la mode des Russes. Us nous apporterent du Strumelin, & nous leurs donnames du Biscuit & de 1'Eau-de-Vie, avec quoi ils s'en retournerent fort contens.'

20a. Haudaniittyy, parish of Haparanda, Västerbotten (administrative county of Norrbotten).

Find of a sewn boat, made while digging a ditch, mentioned in local newspapers in Nov. 1925. According to the news item, some fragments were preserved, but nothing so far has been traced.

The marine archaeological survey of the author, Norrbotten No. 152 (Westerdahl 1975-76). Westerdahl (1982c: 63).

20b. Järvi (bog), Nikkala, parish of Haparanda, Västerbotten (administrative county of Norrbotten).

Find of a probable sewn boat made while digging a drainage ditch around 1960. The marine archaeological survey of the author, Norrbotten No. 150 (Westerdahl, 1975-76), Westerdahl (1982c: 63), where is also mentioned another boat find, from the town of Haparanda. In that case differing opinions have been put forward whether the boat was sewn or not.

East of the Finland border there is on the map in Part 1, Fig. 8 a dot marking the Laivajärvi finds (Finland No. 14).

21. Soukolojarvi (bog), parish of Övertorneå (Ylitornio), Västerbotten (administrative county of Norrbotten).

Sewn boat and other boat fragments found before 1953, when the sewn ackja (Lapland

Figure 3. The Valkijarvi boat(Sweden No.22). Photo Nordiska Museet, Stockholm.



sleigh) was excavated. The ackja was dated by a very early radiocarbon analysis to the 13th century (the dating certificate has been sought, but as yet in vain). The ackja find was published by Wahlberg (1956) p. 80f, who points out the similarities to a sewn boat. His identification of the sleigh is based upon the square stem, the stem post hole and a contextual ski find. Manker (1968: 214) concludes that the find is the remains of a boat, cut off at the stem section, a known procedure in recent times, to obtain a smaller craft for limited purposes. The stem post hole may be interpreted as an attachment for a painter or hauling line.

On the map (Part 1, Fig. 7) the letter D marks the ackja find while in Part 1, Fig. 8 a triangular symbol performs the same function.

22. Valkijärvi (bog/lake), Vittangi, parish of Jukkasjärvi, Lappland.

Find of a fairly well-preserved sewn boat, c. 4-5 m long, 90 cm wide, with two strakes and a broad keel-plank, the 5 ribs being treenailed to the strakes, but having no ledges fitted to the clinkered strakes. As is usual in Saami boatbuilding the wood is spruce, being the lightest of all possible materials, except birch bark, and the ribs are comparatively close. However, the stitches with spruce roots are not preserved. Inv. No. 211 07 of Statens Historiska Museum (National Museum of Antiquities), Stockholm. (Fig. 3). Arbman (1940: 82f figs 42-43), Ellmers (1972: 322 No. 128, 97 (Fig. 64), Korhonen (1982a: 75).

23. Stora Sjöfallet (Lule river rapids), parishes of Gällivare and Jokkmokk, Lappland.

Fragments of a boat, sewn together with plaited (probably reindeer) sinew cords. The find was made on an island situated downstream of the famous waterfall.

According to Manker (1947: 464; 1953: 129), transferred in 1947 from the Statens Ethnografiska Museum (National Museum of Ethnography) to the Nordiska Museet, Stockholm. Inv.Nos03.12.1-2.

24. Paulajaure (lake), parish of Arvidsjaur, Lappland.

Oral statements on fragments of a sewn boat. Nordiska Museet, Stockholm, LA 1311 (cf. No. 25), the author in an interview, in 1971.

25. Stuorrajaure (lake/brook), parish of Arvidsjaur, Lappland.

The same sources as No. 24. Sewn boat fragments, possibly belonging to a well-known


Figure 4. Stem of the Orrkammen boat (Sweden No. 27a), according to Manker (1968).




Figure 5. Keel-plane of the Storholmen boat (Sweden No. 28a) (Manker, 1968).

Forest Saami habitation site, abandoned in

26. Lundbacken (small lake), parish of Arvidsjaur, Lappland.

Considerable parts of a sewn boat found in 1935, during a summer drought, and probably left as they were, in situ. Manker (1968: 101) (Nordiska Museet L A 473).

27a. Orrkammen (drained lake), parish of Arvidsjaur, Lappland.

Stem of a sewn boat found in 1916, with root fibres left in their holes at the connection to the hood-ends, (Fig. 4).

Manker (1968: 211 fig. 218 a-c, 213 text. According to Manker the stem is supposed to have been preserved at the local museum of Glommersträsk, but Olavi Korhonen, then at DAUM, Umea, later found that it had disappeared.

27b. Västra Kikkejaur (lake), parish of Arvidsjaur, Lappland.

Find of a keel, with pairs of holes, presumably for lashing to the first strakes. It is much worn but it is clear that this is one of the very few instances of such a lashing arrangement, possibly the only one. Otherwise the lashing is invariably made into cleats worked out in the keel and/or the strakes.

Radiocarbon date through the Museum of Skelleftea, North Sweden, gave the approximate bracket AD 1485-1640 (320 ±45 BP), which I have entered in the dating table as AD 1620.

27c. Arvidsjaur, the parish of, Lappland.

By courtesy of Mr Herbert Wigenstam of the Nordarkeologi project, Arvidsjaur, I have a list of at least 7 new finding-places of fragments of sewn boats in the area. I am convinced that if such an intensive search was carried out anywhere in the 'hot' areas of Swedish Lappland the result would be the same. As it is, this result, if separately listed, would distort the picture. Cf. No. 33b Arjeplog.

28a. Storholmen, Stortjärn (lake on an island in the Skellefte river), parish of Malå, Lappland.

Considerable parts of a sewn boat with a total length of about 3-5 m, breadth of c. 95 cm, strakes and ribs of spruce, one rib being loose, a regular trait among small Saami boats, according to several 18th century travellers (e.g. Hogstrom, 1746: 112).

The holes in the strakes seem to be made with a knife, not a gimlet, another Saami trait, which is not unknown from other sources. The caulking has been done with animal hair and tar.


Figure 6. Cross section of the Storholmen boat, below sewing (Manker, 1968).

(Figs 5, 6). A well-known Forest Saami settlement, long since abandoned, is near to the lake (cf. No. 25). Inv. No. 83 189 of the Nordiska Museet, Stockholm (Photo 286). Hammarstedt (1908), Hallström (1909: 85f), Manker (1968: 101, 211 figs 127 a-d, 212f). Ellmers (1972: 319f No. 116), Prins (1974: 201), Korhonen (1982a: 80).

28b. Håptjärn (small lake), Håptjärnliden, parish of Malå, Lappland.

Oral report of a birch bark boat, almost totally preserved, found around 1920-1925, length c. 2-5-3 m, maximum breadth 1-2 m. The hull had been sewn to ribs and stringers with root fibres and caulked with reindeer hair and tar. The bark was laid in four layers as in the cases of Nos 1c and 2b. No positive evidence could be found concerning actual sewing between these layers, but obviously some tightening arrangement was made with birch bark tar as a kind of glue. Marked with the letter B on the map (Part 1, Fig. 8). Jansson (1979: 5), Westerdahl (1982&: 24), Korhonen (1982&: 37) (demonstration given by the informant).

29. Slagnäs (small lake), parish of Sorsele, Lappland.

Oral statement on a sewn boat, according to Manker (1968: 101). Nordiska Museet L A 473 (Manker, 1937-1938). This may correspond with the recorded find at Stocktjärn, mentioned in an interview in 1983, made by Olavi Korhonen, then at DAUM, Umea.

30. Vallaure (lake), Dragnäs, Storavan, parish of Arjeplog.

Oral statement on a sewn boat, according to Olofsson in 1935 (Olofsson, 1965).

31. Radnejaure (lake), parish of Arjeplog, Lappland.

Oral report of a sewn boat, recorded by Olavi Korhonen, then at DAUM, Umea.

32. Arjeplog, the parish of, probably referring to Abborrviken, a bay of the Pite river, Lappland.

Oral report of a sewn boat find where the ribs had been treenailed to the strakes (cf. No. 22) and root fibres had been put into grooves on the outside of the strakes (ULMA 5585: 213) Cf. Fig. 1 in connection with No. 5.

33a. Arjeplog, the parish of, between the two lakes Aijaure and Ravesjaure, Lappland.

Fragments of two pine strakes, without definite proof of their having been sewn together. Inv. No. SMA 5958 of the Silver-museet, Arjeplog. According to an examination by Gutorm Gjessing, Oslo, they are almost certainly remains of a sewn boat (1978).

33b. Arjeplog, the parish of, Lappland.

As in the case of No. 27c, a local survey of Einar Wallquist, the creator of the Silvermuseet (Silver Museum) of Arjeplog revealed at least 3 new finding-places. However, for the same reason, I am not going to list them separately in this context.

34a.Giltjaur(Jiltjer), parish of Sorsele, Lappland.

Stem-sewn boat found in 1935 by Ossian Olofsson (Olofsson, 1965), the material being hemp string. Otherwise, the strakes were iron-clenched in the 'normal' way.

34b. Njuktjaure (lake), parish of Sorsele, Lappland.

Sewn strakes stuck in nets while fishing in 1930. The strakes were dropped back in the sea. Korhonen (1928A: 37) (demonstration given by the informant). The locality is near to that of No.34a.

35a. Biellojaure (lake), parish of Sorsele, Lappland.

Fairly complete, but rotten, remains of a sewn boat with oblique stitches and three strakes, observed by an informant in 1884, and described in an interview by M. Möller for the Nordiska Museet, Stockholm, in 1928.

35b. Tjuvträsket (lake), parish of Sorsele, Lappland.

Oral statement on fragments of a sewn boat observed in 1940. Interview by the author in 1978. Attempts to locate them have failed (e.g. by Rolf Kjellström, Nordiska Museet, Stockholm, in 1979). The locality is near to that of No.35a.

36. Sliktesjön (lake), parish of Sorsele, Lappland.

Oral report of a sewn boat, the material being spruce. Olavi Korhonen, then at DAUM, Umea, in a tape recording made in 1982.



Figure 7. Sketch by Linnaeus made during his Lappland journey in 1732, showing his Saami guide carrying his sewn boat(Linnaeus, 1811).


Figure 8. Linnaeus sketch of the sewn boat of 1732 on the Ume River (Sweden No. 38) (Linnaeus 1811).

37. Hangajaure (lake), Dårrogilla, Ammarnäs, parish of Sorsele, Lappland.

Oral statement on fragments of a sewn boat, e.g. a stem with seam holes made for the 'plaiting' of the hood-ends, according to Manker (1947: 484; 1953: 173). Inv. Nos 208639 of the Nordiska Museet, Stockholm and 227806 9-6.

38. Tuggen (-selet), Ume river, parish of Lycksele, Lappland.

Linnaeus (1811: 99f), in connection with the waterfall of 'Tuken'. The boat is described as follows: 'Its length was twelve feet, breadth five and depth four. The thickness of the edge not more than two lines. The four planks which formed each of its sides were of root of spruce fir each about a span broad and four lines thick. The two transverse boards or seats were of the branches of the same tree. The seams were secured obliquely with cords as thick as goosequill' (Figs 7, 8).

The journey was undertaken in 1732. In the southern part (below Lycksele) of the same river. Tilas (1966) in 1745 describes river boats of the same type.

Total for Northern Sweden, mainly Lappland: c. 60 instances/boats, of which 10 are partly preserved, often in a most fragmentary state. Some, particularly those still under water, may still be located, investigated and even salvaged.

The distribution of the finds would seem to correspond to certain of the Mountain or— perhaps mainly—the Forest Saami territories, as they are known in recent days. The author intends to develop this theme in a future study.

Southern Sweden

39. Björke, parish of Hille, Gästrikland.

The find was made while ditching a bog in 1947, and excavated the following year. It consists of a well-preserved, clinker-built, iron-nailed boat, with a length of c. 7-2 m and a width of c. 1 -25 m. Possibly a late relative of the Hjortspring boat as its five principal elements, in particular the stem/stern parts, seem related. Åkerlund, however, also noticed similarities with the pine wood ship of Nydam, c. AD 400 (Åkerlund, 1963:95!)— Denmark No. 3.

Humbla (1950) dated the boat to the 1st century AD with typological and geological support. Later scrutiny [Løken (1976)—with the support of Arne Emil Christensen of Oslo] would rather on the same evidence put it in the later part of the Migration Period (c. AD 600). The regional museum of Gävle, where the boat is exhibited, has recently acquired some unconserved parts of the boat, which have been dated by radiocarbon (Westerdahl, 1983; Melander, 1984), to AD 320 ±70.

What puts the Björke boat into this catalogue is its sewn repair work with iron nails and branches of juniper.

Humbla (1950: 11 fig. 6), Ellmers (1972: 315f No. 104).

40. Byslätt (Viskan river), Istorp, parish of Horred, Västergötland.

Boat find, c 3-5 m long, of elm tree bark, with slender ribs of hazel branches with fragments of leather, found in a river bank in 1934. Although holes in the bark do exist, no sewing is definitely recorded. The ribs were iron-nailed to the bark. This appears to be the only preserved bark boat of Europe, although the remains have not been studied and/or published in any way. According to a geological estimation it is possibly of Iron Age date, but hardly later. Västergötland is the only region of Scandinavia, except the Saami North, where a source, in this case a law, mentions a most probably sewn boat type, the tagbaenda as late as the 13th century (Schlyter, 1837; Hildebrand, 1879; Holmbäck & Wessen, 1979). Sewn birch bark coffins have also been documented in early churchyards in this region (Lorentzsson, 1984).

Göteborgs Arkeologiska Museum (GAM), Gothenburg, Inv. No. 464 55. Humbla & v. Post (1937: 11), Wenner (1938: 521, with recorded layers at the site), Ellmers (1972: 318, No. 112), Westerdahl (1979: 30f), Hansen & Skamby Madsen (1981: 4-5, with hitherto unpublished photos).

41. Fiholm, Svånö bog, parish of Ryttern, Västmanland.

Log boat with cleats for the lashing of ribs (some cleats were in fact loose and in their turn lashed to the floor (cf. Ashby Dell-Green, 1968: 61). Clefts have been repaired with a toros (cf. Estonia No. 1, 2) lath/withes construction.

Radiocarbon dating AD 965 ±95 (Late Viking Age). Found in 1869. Statens Historiska Museum (The National Museum of Antiquities). Inv.Nos4064.4278.

Lindquist (1924: 224 fig 1, 225), Ellmers (1972: 317 No. 107), Westerdahl (1980: 17).

42. Skeppargatan (No. 4 of the street), Stockholm.

The almost totally preserved ship was found in 1896, but was, owing to its considerable size, hewn to pieces, of which some were transferred to the National Museum of Antiquities (Part 1, Figs 3, 18-20). The original ship had most probably exceeded 15m in length. Its planking was sewn with preserved spruce root withes (root fibres), like the ribs, of which none seem to have been preserved (except one single possible fragment). The holes were drilled obliquely into the wood to avoid unnecessary friction and the seams were wedged with treenails. In the joint between the keel and the garboard plank the preserved fastenings consist of one treenail and one iron nail. In this part caulking was made with tar, whereas tar-drenched moss was used elsewhere. The seams were tightened with iron-clamped battens according to the toros technique [cf. Estonia No. 1, and Rank (1935)].

Radiocarbon dating younger than 250 years (c. AD 1700). Statens Historiska Museum (National Museum of Antiquities) Inv. No. 101 72. Cederlund (1977; 1978), Westerdahl (1981).

43. Tuna, parish of Badelunda, Västmanland.

Grave field find, excavated in 1952-1953, of 7 Viking Age boat graves. '

The only preserved boat (No. 75), length 6 m, width 1,15m, made entirely of pine wood, consisted of a log keel plank with one strake on each side, sewn together with running (root?)


Figure 9. Strake fragment of the Halsnoy boat (Norway No. 5) with a row of sewing holes. After Brøgger et al (1917).

fibres, with oblique stitches. Clefts in the hull had been repaired with sewn laths like the Fiholm (Sweden No. 41) find. No fastening between planks and ribs could be found except the wooden pegs of a false keel.

Some of the grave boats did not contain any iron nails, except in the stem (partly keel) sections (Nos 23b, 35 and 48). This would presumably mean that the boats either were tree-nailed or sewn, probably the last.

Iron clamps in boat No. 35 could possibly have belonged to grave goods or to repair work. Other possibilities include false keel arrangements on parts of the bottom. The other grave boats were iron-nailed.

The original excavators, Drs Erik Nylen and Bengt Schonback, are at present planning a publication on the site.

Total for Sweden: c. 65 instances/boats, of which c. 15 have been preserved, mostly in fragments.

There are also an oral traditions recording sewn hide or leather boats in Saami tales, as well as a flimsy reference to a leather boat in the parish of Nordingrå. Ångermanland (Part 1, Fig. 7 the map marked with the letter F) in connection with an outlaw story.

Some indications exist of former sewn planking with Swedish log boat finds. No comprehensive survey has, however, been made.


DAUM - Dialekt och ortnamnsarkivet, Umea., Sweden.

L A - Lapska arkivet (The Saami archives),< Nordiska museet, Stockholm

ULMA - Dialekt och folkminnesarkivet Uppsala, Sweden.

Note: Indications that the Falsterbo barge(s) have been sewn were orally transmitted to the author by M. Beat Arnold, Musee d'archeologie, Neuchatel, Switzerland. However, my visit to the keeping place of the find near Lund, Sweden, could not verify this. Any scrutiny would meet serious difficulties, both because of the crammed state of the storehouse (not too uncommon a situation for boat finds!) and the fact that the barge planks display secondary fastenings for a reconstruction.


1. Bogan, Kolvereid, parish of Foldereid, Nord-Trøndelag.

Fragments of strakes, 0-5 cm thick, sewn with horse hair strings, found in 1942 underneath a big boulder stone near a lake. The DKNVS Museum, Trondheim, Inv. No. 161 14.

According to Arne Emil Christensen, Oslo, (pers. comm.) the Bogan find could rather imply remains of a pulka (smaller Lapland sleigh) than a boat [cf. Sweden Nos 3a and 21—Wahlberg (1956: 80f) describing a sewn ackja, as he puts it—the identification questioned by Manker (1968: 214) and by the present author.

Ellmers (1972: 33 No. 151), Christensen (1984).

2. Bar (d) set (bog), parish of Helgøy, Nord-Kvaløy, Troms.

Considerable remains of an Early Viking Age (possibly somewhat earlier) craft of 13m length and 2-7 m breadth, clinker-built in the Scandinavian fashion of e.g. the Kvalsund finds (Shetelig-Johannessen, 1929). The sewn element is to be found only in the uppermost strake which is intermittently sewn and treenailed.

Museum of Tromsø, Inv. No. 3499. Gjessing (1941), Ellmers (1972: 329, No. 149), Prins (1975: 18f), Christensen (1975: 74-75).

3.Fjøyrtoft, parish of, Marsteinnes (bog), Haram, Sunnmøre.

Among two Viking Age (radiocarbon-dated according to Myhre (1980): AD 830 and 860 ± 90) boats, the smaller one, of 5-7 m length and 1 • 1 m breadth, shows some strake repair work on clefts in sewing technique, with bast strings. Elsewhere, the small boat is iron-nailed. The empty holes in the strakes of the bigger boat could, however, have been iron-nailed.

Faerøyvik & Fett (1943: 20,22).

4. Grunn (Grund-) farnes, parish of Berg, Ytre Senja, Troms.

Note on a lost find of fragments of a sewn boat, in the topographical archives of the Museum of Tromsø (courtesy of the Chief Curator Arne Emil Christensen, Oslo).

Another find from Grunnfarnes in Ellmers (1972: 332, No. 160), a rib showing Viking Age or younger characteristics.

5. Halsnøy (Halsnø), Øvre Tofte (bog), Toftevågen, parish of Eid, Fjelberg, Hordaland.

Parts of a sewn boat, radiocarbon-dated to AD 335 ±65 (calibrated), according to Myhre (1980). The strakes are sewn together with bast strings [root fibres according to Shetelig in Brøgger et al (1917)] caulked with tar-drenched woolen material and lashed to the ribs in cleats with root fibres, the hood ends being sewn to the stem/stern with woolen yam. The caulking is of an extraordinarily high quality, probably imported, according to Magnus (1981), who raises the question whether the boat may also have served a ritual function since the building techniques would be representative of the time.

In the history of ship-building the Halsnøy find has often been compared with the Hjortspring find (Denmark No. 1) of c. 300 BC. The ribs in the Halsnøy boat are sturdier, the boat has also rowlocks and was accordingly rowed, not paddled, as the Hjortspring boat (Fig. 9; Part 1, Figs 4, 5) Museum of Bergen, Inv. No. 5406. Shetelig (1903: 8fill 5-12), Brøgger et al (1917: 359-362 with ill. 158-162), Shetelig-Johannessen (1929: 42), Faer0yvik (1934), Humbla & v. Post (1937: 30fill. 13:1), Ellmers (1972: 332 No. 162).

6. Kjerringøy, parish of Strandå, Skip(Skib)sviken, Nordland.

Viking Age grave find. In a boat of c. 6m length, iron nails had been used in the keel strakes and the hood ends. Elsewhere, either treenails or sewing had joined the strakes together, since no traces of iron could be detected.

Nicolaisen (1893: If), Shetelig (1916: 87), Muller-Wille (1970; 179, No. 394).

7. Lauvåsvik, parish of Bjørnør, Herfjord, Stoksund, Sør-Trøndelag.

Around 1890 were found (now lost) boat fragments sewn together with bast strings (cf. Halsnoy Norway No. 5 dated AD 335) Shetelig & Johannessen (1929: 49), Ellmers (1972: 336, No. 180).

8. Pasvik, parish of Kirkenes, Finnmark.

Skolt Saami cod fishing boat from the border with Russia, a vanas, built in the Varanger area around 1870, of c. 3-5m length and 1-lm breadth. The boat has three strakes a side and running stitches of hemp twine, wedged with treenails, with hemp strings all over, even in the stem/stern and the joints at the keel. Caulking with moss. The boat is six-oared.

Prins (1975: 12f), Christensen (ed)-Faer0yvik (1979: p. 114-115). Museum of Tromsø, exhibited.

9. Sand, Tjeldøya, Nordland (the northernmost part).

A probably Pre-Viking Age (AD 6-700) grave find of a boat, c. 4 m long, with remains of iron nails only in the stem/stern. Elsewhere the joints were either treenailed or sewn.


10. Senja (hesten), Rydningen, Sør-Senja, Troms.

Viking Age or younger keel with sewn fragments of bottom strakes, the reindeer sinew stitches being, according to Prins (1975: 19), the 'first instance of continuous sewing in the Arctic.' Caulking with woolen strings.

Museum of Tromsø, exhibited. Vorren (1958: 20f), Simonsen (1966 in Ottar No. 48, p. 70), Ellmers (1972: 338, No. 196).

11. Skagen, Åkvik (bog), parish of Herøy, Nordland.

Fragments of a string-sewn pine boat with only 1 cm thick strakes, inscribed with carved runes of the old alphabet, of a possible range from the 3rd (5th)-8th century AD, although their authenticity has been doubted by A. E. Christensen (pers. communication). Found in 1946.

The DKNVS Museum, Trondheim, Inv. No. 164 26. Universitetets Oldsaksamling Tilvekst Trondheim (1946-1947; 21f), Ellmers (1972:

339, No. 199).

12. Valderøy, Valderhaugen (Kongshaugen), Jangarden, parish of Giske, Borgund, Sunnmøre.

Grave find of a boat. Fragments of pine strakes with cleats for lashing, sewn with gut strings and wedged with treenails, of which some remain. Radiocarbon-dated to AD 245 ± 105 (calibrated), according to Myhre (1980). Caulking with wool, drenched with tar or resin. Bee (1942), Brøgger & Shetelig (1951: 42^t3 fig 4), Årbok Bergens Museum (1953: 56fNo. 4), Marstrander (1963: 139f), Prins (1975: 17). Museum of Bergen Inv. No. 107 90:1 a-b.

13. Øksnes, parish of, Nordland.

Grave find. Fragments of a Viking Age (9th-10th centuries) boat, the strakes being sewn with sinews in disconnected stitches with knots as stoppers (Part 1, Fig. 17). Other Saami characteristics are the ribs, rather weak with rectangular cross-section, which are put fairly close (0-5 m) together, as compared with Scandinavian usage, and, also contrary to that usage, being joined to the keel.

The boat may have been c. 10 m long and, at least, 1-5 m wide. Caulking with wool.

Gjessing (1941), Ellmers (1972: 337 No. 189), Prins (1975: 18), Korhonen (1982a: 80). Museum of Tromsø, Inv. No. 3981.

Total for Norway: 14 finds, of which 2 (1 belonging to Tromso Museum not included here) are recent and 7-8 are older remains.

The archipelago of Svalbard (Spitsbergen) belongs to Norway. Since the sewn boat fragments found in Svalbard are attributed to Russian trappers, I have put them in the Soviet Union section in this catalogue.

The preserved recent sewn boats in Norway also include a Russian shnjaka from the Kola peninsula, exhibited at Norsk Sjøfartsmuseum (The National Maritime Museum) of Oslo and an Archangelsk boat at Tromso Museum.

Christensen (ed)-Faer0yvik (1979: 117-119), Prins (1975: 13f).

Oral material has not systematically been covered, as in the case of Sweden. Neither have the Norwegian log boat finds (only in the southern part of the country) been studied for traces of sewn strakes.


DKNVS (Museet)-Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskab (Trondheim).


Fig. 10, Part 1 Figs 13,14 maps, Forssell (1983).

1. Hankasalmi, parish of, undefined locality, region of Middle Finland.

Fragment of either stem or stern, and of strakes, sewn with root fibres, at least to the keel plank, since there is obviously only one strake on each side. Two ribs, which have been lashed with birch bark to cleats in the keel and in the strakes. Found in 1939, and preserved at the Orimattila establishment of the National Museum of Finland. Inv. No. KM (Kansallis-museo) 8221. Forssell (1983: 16).

2. Hartola, parish of, Jääsjärvi, region of Mikkeli/St Michel.

Found in the 1930s. Fragment of strake with traces of root fibre fastenings. Sketch with measurements sent by letter to the National Museum of Finland. Mekrijärvi-Keuru type of sewing technique (Sw, näst/Fi. nide) Part 1, Figs 1C, 2). Forssell (1982: 43; 1983: 12).

3. Hauho, parish of, beach of Hauhonselkä (part of lake), region of Hämeenlinna/ Tavastehus.

Found in the 1930s. Part of stem or stern, fragments of strake, which have been fastened with root fibres. Museum of Hämeenlinna/

Figure 10. Distribution of the principal sewing techniques in Finland. The filled dots mark the running stitches of types A and B (Part 1, Fig. 1), half-filled dots the nide/näst type of the Mekrijärvi type C. on the same figure. Numbers from Forssell (1983) not relevant to this catalogue.

Tavastehus. Mekrijärvi-Keuru type of sewing technique (Sw. näst/Fi. nide) (Part 1, Figs 1C, 2).

Itkonen (1934), Forssell (1982: 41), (1983; 12).

4. Haukipudas, parish of, croft of Annikainen, region of Oulu/Uleåborg.

Fragments of strake, with stitch holes and a bigger hole for the rib treenail. Carved owner's mark. Found while ditching a bog, situated about 5 m above sea level. According to local conditions at least 150 years old (1965).

Regional Museum of Oulu/Uleåborg— Pohjoispohjanmaan museo/Nordösterbottens Museum, Inv. No. 6492: 1-2 Paulahärju (1966), Forssell (1983: 22).

5. Himanka, parish of, undefined locality, region of Vaasa/Vasa.

Fragments of strakes with root fibres, according to Itkonen [1957, p. (column) 473]. Measurements of the land uplift suggest a date around AD 1400. The boat is supposed to have had four strakes and a length of c. 7

National Museum of Finland Inv. No. KM 9212: 1-3 (not found according to Henry Forssell of the National Maritime Museum of Finland).

Forssell (1983: 28).

6. Ii/Ijo (Phohjos-Ii), parish of, lake of Hias-tinsuo, region of Oulu, Uleåborg.

Fragments of a Mekrijärvi type of boat with sewn stem, keel and strakes, ribs however fastened with treenails. Caulking with tar-drenched moss. Estimated length 6m, width 1-1 m.

Paulahärju (1966). Forssell (1983: 21, photo). The paper Liitto (Oulu) 28/9 1965, no. 224 (also Finland No. 17) (Part 1, Figs 1C, 2).

7. Inari/Enare, parish of, village of Nellim, Kivijärvi (lake), region of Lappland.

Fragments of pine strakes, possibly sewn with sinews, of which nothing remained, treenails/wedges were however still in position in the holes. Saami technique. C-14 dating 90+110 (AD 1860).

Forssell (1983: 22).

8. Karrböle, parish of Jomala, Aland/ Ahvenanmaa.

In a Viking Age gravefield, with some wooden chamber graves nearby, one of which was dated to the middle part of the 10th century, a boat grave was found with impression of a craft c. 4 m length, without any trace of iron nails. The boat could, accordingly, have been sewn as well as treenailed. The later Ålandish treenailing tradition could not so far however, be proven so far back. (Högnäs, 1983).

Dreijer (1969: 160f), (1979: 65, 107), Muller-Wille (1970: Finland 152, No. 34).

9. Keuru, parish of, river of Suojoki, village of Suolahti, region of Middle Finland.

Pine fragments of one, possibly two strakes, one 8m long, pieces of a stem/stern, 16 oars, rowlocks [cf. Prins (1975), who erroneously talks of four boats].

Mekrijärvi stitch type with root fibres, as well as a 'younger' stem-stitch, indicating at most two boats, probably just one. (Part 1, Figs 1, 2). The find was made in 1930 and the remnants were excavated in 1935. Radiocarbon datings: AD 1220= 730 PB± 130, AD 1280= 670 BP± 120. National Museum of Finland Inv. Nos KM 7489, 7791] at Orimattila, and Keski-Suomen museo (Mellersta Finland's museum), Jyväskylä.

Hirsjärvi (1937), Prins (1975: 17), Korhonen (1982a: 76), Forssell (1982: 41, 43; 1983: 10f photos].

10. Kiantajärvi, Niettusaari (island), parish of Suomussalmi, region of Oulu/Uleåborg.

Fragments of strake, ribs, keel (spruce), sewn in a straight row, with an oblique anchor stitch of twisted juniper (twigs or roots), the holes being wedged with treenails. Found in 1963. Probably 17th-l 9th century. The regional museum of Oulu/Uleåborg-Pohjoispohjanmaan museo/Nordösterbottens Museum, Inv. No. 5675. Paulahärju (1966), Forssell (1983: 20f, photo).

11. Kittilä, parish of, Pilkkijärvi, region of Lappland.

Fragment of a hollowed-out stem or stern piece, with sewing with root fibres at the hood-ends. Part of false keel fastened to the stem/ stern piece with root fibres (cf. Sotkamo Finland No. 21). The find was made in 1949. Sketch with measurements sent to the National Museum of Finland.

Inv.No.4904: 151(?).

Forssell (1983: 16f,fig).

12. Koiralampi (or Koiralammensuo, a bog), parish of Räkkylä, region of North Carella.

Bog find in 1976, excavated in 1977-1979, of considerable parts (3/5) of a sewn boat. Strakes with 6-7 root fibre stitches in a seam in plank grooves, with wedges (treenails), bottom planking, carved with a criss-cross pattern to ensure flexibility, seat board with a mast hole. The 5 ribs had only been fastened to the upper strake by a stitch and to the keel probably by way of cleats. Caulking with tar, moss and birch bark. The boat had obviously been destroyed deliberately. (Part 1, Fig. 1B). Length c. 6-8 m, width c. 1-5m.

Radiocarbon datings, AD 1130= 820 BP± 130 and AD 1170= 780BP+100.

National Museum of Finland Inv. No. 10633. Naskali (1980: 2-7, Forssell (1983: 22-24 photos).

13. Kuhmo, parish of, at a lake beach, region of Oulu/Uleåborg.

Strakes, parts of ribs, and keel of a small sewn boat, the uppermost strake being iron-nailed. The sewing is discontinuous, the stitches consisting of 5 holes each. Between the hole groups traces of iron nails which also have been

Figure 11. Lashing in a cleat on the Mekrijärvi (Finland No. 15) keel-plank, drawn by Korhonen (1982a) after photograph by Forssell (1981).

used at the stem. Stem and stern have been reconstructed, albeit, as to what concerns the sewing technique, erroneously. The ribs have been fastened with treenails, except to the upper strake, where they are sewn.

The find was made in 1923. The ethnographical department of the National Museum of Finland, Inv. No. KM 6882, Orimattila.

Hirsjärvi (1937), Forssell (1983: 9, photo).

14. Laivajärvi (lake), parish of Alatornio/ Övertornea, region of Lappland/county of Länsi-Pohja/Västerbotten.

(a) Fragments of a small boat: 4 damaged ribs (bulkhead type), fragments of a hollowed-out stem/stern. Probably only one strake at each side. The ribs have been lashed to cleats in the keel. Possibly the boat was of the Linnaeus type. Figs 7, 8 (Sweden No. 38).

National Museum of Finland, Orimattila.

Forssell [1983: 19 photo, 20].

(b) Fragments of a probably continuously sewn boat, found in the neighbourhood of (a):

keel of 4-6 m, fragments of possibly 5 strakes, 2 ribs fastened with treenails. It is possible, however, that the ribs belong to another boat (H. Nordberg, Tornionlaakson museo, in a letter to the author). Radiocarbon dating AD 910= 1040BP±90.

Tornionlaakson museo/Tornedalens

Museum, Tornio/Torneå

Forssell (1983: 19 photo).


Figure 12. Two sewing techniques used in the Mekrijärvi boat (Finland No. 15) Photo: Henry Forssell, National Maritime Museum of Finland, Helsinki.

15. Mekrijärvi (lake), region of North Carelia, parish of Ilomants,

Found in 1980 and excavated by the National Maritime Museum of Finland (H. Forssell). The fore part preserved, with parts of the spruce planking, four ribs, two rowlocks, aspen dug out bottom (keel), with cleats to which the ribs were lashed with root fibres of spruce (Figs 11, F2). Tongue-shaped plank joints related to e.g. the Viking Age Scandinavian Haithabu and Skuldelev I types and some cog planks of the Middle Ages. Sw. näst/Fi. nide type of sewing, baptized Mekrijärvi type (Forssell). Possible length at least 8-5 m. (Figs 11, 12; Part 1, Figs 1C, 6). Radiocarbon datings AD 1610= 340 BP±100/AD1810= 140±90.

Inv. No. 0880 at the National Maritime Museum of Finland.

Forssell (1981: 2-9; 1982: 39-44 figs 4 and 22; 1983: 24-28 photos and fig.)

16. Miehikkälä, parish of, Mustajärvi, region of Kymmene.

Fragments of strakes, one rib. Planks, according to description, sewn with root fibres. Sketch of rib with measurements sent the National Museum of Finland.

Forssell (1983: 28).

17. Pudasjärvi, parish of, Ohtalampi/Malisensuo, Jaurakkajärvi, region of Oulu/Uleåborg.

Fragments of a strake, which had been sewn, according to the Mekrijärvi (Finland No. 15) and the (Pohjois) li (Finland No. 6) types. Photo at the regional museum of Oulu/Uleåborg (Pohjoispohjanmaan museo/Nordösterbottens Museum) (Part 1, Figs 1C, 2).

The paper Liitto (Oulu) 28/9 1965, no. 224, in connection with Finland No. 6. Paulahärju (1966), Forssell (1983: 22).

18. Salla, parish of, lake of Ritalampi, village of Kursu, Kuolajärvi.

Keel, 4 m long, with a cleat in the middle and continuous small sewing holes in pairs at the edges, rib and fragments of strake. Sketch with measurements sent by letter to the National Museum of Finland in 1934. The original has not yet been found (Forssell).

Itkonen (1957, p. (1983: 12f, 13 fig.). (column) 473), Forssell

19. Savitaipale, parish of, beach of Hyvikäsjärvi (lake), near the village of Hämäläinen, region of Kymmene.

Found in 1934 while ditching near the beach, excavated in 1936. Fragments of a hollowed-out stem or stern piece, the pine keel, also hollowed-out, being fastened with root fibres. Fragments of two strakes. The sewing technique related to that of the Mekrijärvi boat. (Finland No. 15, Part 1, Figs 1C, 2).

The ethnographical department of the National Museum of Finland, Inv. No. KM 7967, Orimattila.

Hirsjärvi (1937), Korhonen (1982a: 76), Forssell [1982: 41,43; 1983:14].

20. Siilinjärvi, parish of, region of Kuopio.

Keel with cleats and fragments of planks fastened with birch bark, one damaged cleat being replaced by a treenail fastening. The strakes have been sewn to each other with root fibres, and the ribs are lashed to the keel, but treenailed to the strakes. Mekrijärvi type of sewing technique (Finland No. 15, Fig. 11).

Radiocarbon dating AD 1790 = 190 + 100.

Forssell [1983: 17-18 (photo)].

21. Sotkamo, parish of, lake of Naapurinvaara, region of Oulu/Uleåborg.

Fragment of stem, c. 1 m, with a part of a plank sewn to it with root fibres. Found in 1955 while fishing with a trot line. Log keel with iron fastening for a false keel. Radiocarbon dating AD 1740= 210+80).

Kainuun museo, Kajaani, Inv. No. 1945.

Forssell (1983: 17-18 photo).

22. Valtimo, parish of, Alasenjärvi, near the river Kokkojoki, region of North Carelia.

Pine keel with cleats in pairs except in stem and stern sections, length 6-2 m, 5 ribs, fragments of spruce strakes, fastened with root fibres, false keel attached to the true one. The find was made during railway construction work in 1935. Radiocarbon dating AD 1640= 310BP±120.

National Museum of Finland, the ethnographical department, Inv. No. KM 7789, kept at Orimattila.

Hirsjärvi (1937), Korhonen (1982a: 76, Forssell (1982: 41, 43; 1983: 13, 15, ill. with photo).

23. Varkaus, parish of, Ruokojärvi, region of Kuopio.

Found in 1955; stem piece, aspen keel piece with cleats, 5-5 m long, fragments of three strakes and of ribs. Sewing technique related to that of the Mekrijärvi (Finland No. 15) and the Siilinjärvi (Finland No. 20) boats (Part 1, Figs 1C,2)

The local museum of Varkaus.

Forssell (1982: 41, 43; 1983: 18f with photo).

24. Virolahti/Vederlax, parish of, region of Kymmene.

Boat find in 1914, with three sewn strakes, ribs fastened to the strakes with treenails and a log keel. No detailed information available.

Sirelius (1919:426), Itkonen (1957, p. (column) 473), Forssell (1983: 8 photo)

25. Vähäkyrö/Lillkyro, parish of, Rummuk-kajärvi (the old river bed of Kyrönjoki/Kyroälv), region of Vaasa/Vasa.

Keel log with cleats and parts of three strakes fastened with root fibres. Estimated total length of the original boat 7m, width 1-3m, dated preliminarily to the 10th century on land uplift data. Sewing technique of the Koiralampi (Rääkkylä -Finland No. 12) type (Part 1, Fig. 1B). Probably identified at the National Museum of Finland, Orimattila (Forssell).

Itkonen (1934; 1957, p. (column) 473), Forssell (1983: 28).

26. Nuvvus (Nuvvos) at the Tana river, region of Lappland.

Fragments of sewn strakes, found and probably preserved at Nuvvus village. No detailed information available. Oral communication to the author by Prof Olavi Korhonen, Umea, Sweden.

Total for Finland: 30 finds, of which about 19-20 have been preserved.

The other finds, according to Itkonen (1957), in Koivulahti/Kvevlax and Saarijärvi are unknown to the National Museum of Finland. However, the Parainen/Pargas find of Itkonen (1957) does denote a boat find which is in the museum, but' it is not sewn (personal communication by Henry Forssell of the National Maritime Museum, Helsinki).

As yet there is no systematic appraisal of possible sewing holes among the extensive Finnish material of log boats, but it is probable that more evidence will be found. Itkonen (1942) has covered a total material of about 600 log boats in the 1930s.

Oral material has not been systematically recorded, as in Sweden. The yield would, most probably, be considerable.


1. Hjortspring or Hjortspringkobbel (bog), island of Als, Sønderborg amt (district).

The oldest find of a sewn planked boat in Scandinavia, dated to the 3rd century BC, according to other contextual artifacts sacrificed in the bog or lake.

Length c. 13m, width c. 2 m, 5 broad linden planks, including the keel, to which the weak lath stand (ribs of hazel branches) were lashed in cleats, left standing in the planks. Fragmentarily preserved keel plank. Separate stem and stern parts with long trunks (cf. Denmark No. 3 Nydam and Sweden No. 40, Björke).

The twisted sewing strings were not preserved, but excellent impressions of them could be studied in the resin caulking. (Figs 13, 14) Rosenberg (1937: 72, 92), Kahl et al (1971), Ellmers (1972: 325 No. 139), Prins (1975 16f).

2. Slusegård, Bornholm (island in the southern Baltic)

Grave finds of Early Iron Age dugouts with sewn repair work in wedged holes, altogether about 20; however, not as has been stated by Hansen in Skalk 1962, with primarily sewn planking (courtesy of Ole Crumlin-Pedersen, Roskilde, in a letter to the author in 1981). In a coming publication on the boats of the grave-field. Slusegård III. The Boats, by Crumlin-



Figure 13. Sewing of the Hjortspring boat (Denmark No. 1) according to Rosenberg (1937). Above, outside; below, inside.

Figure 14. Sewing arrangement of the Hjortspring joints (Smolarek, 1963).

Pedersen, the subject is treated exhaustively. Dated 2nd or 3rd century AD.

3. Nydam (bog), Sønderborg amt (district).

Sacrificial finds, including the seemingly oldest iron-clinkered boat in Scandinavia, made of oak, dated by accompanying artifacts to around AD 400 (the transition from the Roman Iron Age to the Migration Age). Contemporary or a little younger is another ship find, this time of pine wood, where repair work has been accomplished in clefts with a round lath (Fig. 15), sewn or lashed to the hull. Keel length of this ship, which has not been preserved, c. 16m. Stem/stern part—cf. No. 1 and Sweden No. 40 Engelhardt (1865: 12 plate IV). Åkerlund (1963): 100.

Log boats

4. Bodal I, Amose (bog), parish of Stenlille, Merløse herred, Holbaek amt (district).

Alder log boat, excavated in 1948, length 5-2 m, width 0-7 m, with holes and notches in the gunwale area, possibly for sewing or lashing (cf. no. 5) Radiocarbon dating 2740 BC+ 100. Near to a Neolithic habitation site.

Philipsen (1983).

5. Øgärde III, Amose(bog), parish of Undløse Merløse herred, Holbaek amt (district).

Figure 15. Repair lath for sewing or lashing on to clefts in the Nydam pine boat (Denmark No. 3) (Engelhardt, 1865).

Alder log boat, excavated in 1943, length 7 m, width 0-7 m with holes in the gunwale for lashing or sewing. Radiocarbon dating 2640 BC ± 120 (a skeleton nearby 2620 ± 60). Near to a Neolithic habitation site. Troels-Smith (1946): 12-20), Tauber (1966: 108), Philipsen (1983).

6a Verup 1, Amose(bog), parish of Niløse, Merløse herred, Holbaek amt (district).

Alder log boat, excavated in 1945, well-preserved, length 5-5 m, width 0-3 m. A row of small holes beneath the gunwale may indicate sewing or lashing of a plank. Probably belonging to nearby Neolithic settlement. Troels Smith (1946: 16-17), Brøndsted (1957: 218-19), Philipsen (1983).

6b Verup II, Amose(bog), parish of Niløse, Merløse herred, Holbaek amt (district).

Log boat, found in 1945, length at least 9m maximum width c. 0-5m, gunwale missing. A cleft J3H the starboard side was surrounded by Holes in pairs, presumably for tightening stitches or for the sewing of a repair lath (cf. Denmark No. 7 Kildegård IV)

Troels-Smith (1946: 20), Brøndsted (1957 218), Philipsen (1983).

7. Kildegård IV, Amose(bog), parish of Undløse, Merløse herred, Holbaek amt (district).

Fragments of a log boat, excavated in 1946. A cleft in the midship section was surrounded by a row of small holes, probably for stitches holding a lath or tightening. Undated, but near to a Neolithic settlement. Philipsen (1983).

8. Vimose II (bog), parish of Allese, Lunde herred, Odense amt(district).

Oaken log boat, excavated in 1865, as part of a sacrificial find from the Roman Iron Age, length c. 3 m, width 0-4 m. A row of small holes in the gunwale may have been intended for sewn or lashed fastenings for a plank.

Englehardt (1869:25 pls 15, 17), Muller-Wille (1970: 189), Philipsen (1983).

9. Halkaer a (river), parish of Skivum, Års herred, Ålborg amt (district).

Log boat find, found before 1947, length 2-7 m, width 0-4 m. 8 holes in pairs may indicate sewing/lashing. In some holes were still preserved small treenails (wedges?). Undated.

Rasmussen (1953: 40 No. 5), Philipsen (1983).

10. Illerup I, Illerup Ådal(bog), parish of Skanderup, Hjelmslev herred, Skanderborg amt (district).

Log boat, found in c. 1950, as part of a sacrificial find, length c. 3 m. width c. 1 m. Five holes in the gunwale on one side may possibly be part of a lashing or sewing arrangement. Andersen (1951: 16-17), Muller-Wille (1970: 189).

11. Skyttegården, Volk Mølle station, parish of Essenbaek, Sønderhald herred, Randers amt(district).

Log boat, found in 1955 in a meadow, length 5-8 m, width 0-7 m. On the port side 5 small holes in the edge of a fracture.

Philipsen (1983).

Philipsen (1983) also lists some other occurrences on gunwale holes in logboats, which I have considered doubtful as indications of sewing:

Gammelgård mose (bog), parish of Ketting, Als sønder herred, Sønderborg amt,

Kaellingbøl, parish of Hjermind, Middelsom herred, Viborg amt,

Storåen, Holstebro, Hjerm herred, Ringkøbing amt.

Among them are two long boats without certain origin in two Danish museums:

Nationalmuseet II (The National Museum of Denmark),

Fyns Stiftsmuseum (The Diocesan Museum of the Island of Fyn).

Total for Denmark: 12 finds, of which 9 are log boats.

Hjortspring, Slusegård and Nydam have been printed in full on the map (Part 1, Fig. 7). Amose includes 5 log boat finds, 4—7. The others are only marked with their number.

Oral material has not been recorded.

Figure 16. Russian sewn ladja/ladka in the White Sea around 1600, after a Dutch engraving (Gerrit de Veer).



The White Sea area and Carelia, both in Finland and the Soviet Union, must be considered as one of the core regions of sewn boats in historical times. It may be that this tradition can be followed well back into history and even prehistory, but our knowledge is limited (Fig. 16).

An interesting contribution to this study has been made by Korhonen (1982a), who shows the linguistic evidence of some Fenno-Ugrian boat terms as being of Slavonic origin. There is evidently also traffic of the same kind in the opposite direction. Finnish boat terms have also been adopted by Northern Swedish dialects.

Unfortunately, it has not been possible to include these parts of the Soviet Union in this catalogue.

However, it should be mentioned that an Archangelsk boat from the 1890s (well-used then) was taken to Norway by a Norwegian whaler and is now an exhibit at the museum of


Figure 17. Skolt Saami boatbuilder in 1909 at the village of Notosersk (Nuotjaur) in the Kola peninsula. Photo: Gustaf Hallström, Nordiska museet, Stockholm.

Tromsø. A new-built Skolt Saami boat from Nuotjaur (Notosersk) on the Kola peninsula has been preserved at the Nordiska Museet in Stockholm since 1909. The photo documentation of the building of that boat by Gustaf Hallström (Hailstorm 1909 and the archives of the Nordiska Museet) is the only one available of a sewn boat (Fig. 17). The National Museum of Finland in Helsinki also owns a Carelian boat from Olonets. Finally, a big Kola shnjaka is exhibited at the National Maritime Museum in Oslo. It was built as late as 1905.

Several fragments of other Russian sewn trapper boats from Svalbard (Spitsbergen), a Norwegian dependency, are kept in Norway, among other places, at the museum of Tromsø.

Inv. No. 112725 of the Nordiska museet, Stockholm (Nuotjaur-Notosersk) Inv. No. 5379 of the National Museum of Finland, Helsinki (Olonets).

Christensen (1977, 1979), Faerøyvik (1935), Hallström (1909), Westerdahl (1978; 1984).


1. Hara, Logadi (river), Virve, parish of Kuusalu, region of Kolga.

Fragments from a sewn boat, found in the beach sands in 1932. Dug-out bottom or keel, of c. 5 m length, with cleats for the lashing of ribs. Pine wood planks sewn with spruce root fibres, sunk into the wood in grooves, with 3^4 stitches a seam, the interval between the seams of c. 20-30 cm being without any kind of fastening. The stitches were wedged with treenails, and the joints between the planks caulked with tar-drenched moss, which was tightened and held together by laths nailed by iron braces. This technique was called toros in Estonia (cf. Estonia No. 2 and Sweden No. 42). (Fig Part 1.21). Rank (1935: 304Q, Cederlund [1978:28f(78)].

2. Narva (river, Torvala).

Fragments, taken by net, of 3 pine wood planks, sewn with spruce root fibres, thicker than in the case of Hara find (Estonia No. 1) and wedged with treenails, the stitches being sunk in grooves in the wood. Caulking with tar-drenched moss. Traces of iron braces were found, holding tightening laths (cf. No. 1, Sweden No. 42) in toros technique. (Part 1, Fig. 22).

Rank (1935: 309f), Cederlund [1978: 28f(78)].

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