The outline of a foot on the Gokstad Ship gives us an inkling of what it might have been like for Vikings to cross the ocean.
The floorboard from the Gokstad ship. (Photo: Hanne Jakobsen)
He’s crowded into a sleek sailing ship with 65 other men. Scarcely room to move. It’s been days since anybody has seen land − longer since anyone bathed. The old-timers’ repeated tales of bygone raids and voyages are beginning to wear thin.
His place is behind an oar, but there is no need to row continuously on the North Sea. With wind in the sail, the boat surges towards England, where riches await.
But what is there to do while waiting to reach a foreign coast?
Maybe it was a teenager engaged in a Viking version of tagging a school desk. In any case, someone took out his knife, bent down and traced the outline of his foot on the deck of the Gokstad Ship.
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