The Hjortspring boat is a vessel designed as a large canoe, from the Scandinavian Pre-Roman Iron Age, that was excavated in 1921–1922 in Hjortspring Mose at Als in Sønderjylland. It was a clinker-built wooden boat 21 m long (length overall), 13 m long inside and 2 m wide with space for a crew of 22–23 men who propelled the boat with paddles. It was built around 400-300 BC.
The boat is the oldest find of a wooden plank ship in Scandinavia and its closest parallels are the thousands of petroglyph images of Nordic Bronze Age ships. When found, it contained a great quantity of weapons and armour, including 131 shields of the Celtic type, 33 beautifully crafted shieldbosses, 138 spearheads of iron, 10 iron swords, and the remains of several mailcoats. Thus, its sinking has been interpreted as a deliberate war sacrifice.
The strange design of the stern and bow has not yet been explained. The parts sticking out connected with a vertical stick do not seem to have had any function for the canoe's basic stability. The split shape of the bow is very similar to the ancient Baidarka kayak, which is still produced in modern variants, as used by native people in North Russia. The Rus people originally lived in the same general region as Hjortspring. The rugged end pieces in the stern and bow were enough to attach the planks to form the shape of a canoe.
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- Foteviken. "The Hjortspring boat".
- "Bibliography on the boat". Southampton University.
- "Review of Crumlin's book". University College London.
- "The conservation of the boat". Danish National Museum.
- Axel Nelson. "A history of pre-Viking Age Scandinavian ships (in Swedish)".