Jacob wipes the sweat from his forehead and takes a look at what he just uncovered in the field. He felt his insides grow warm in an unpleasant way and his stomach, though empty, squirmed as if it was struggling with a rich meal.
His heart starts to race and his hands, covered in brown, moist soil, start to tremble as hundreds of questions pop into his head. What was this doing here? Then, after taking another look at the object in the ground, a terrible feeling hits the pit of his stomach. There was no coming back from this.
For 34-year-old Jacob, he had spent his entire life living in a small town in the south of Norway. Growing up it was the perfect place for a curious child-like Jacob to explore its hills and woods.
His town had some kind of magical quality about it. But Jacob had no idea what secrets and treasures were hiding away in his small town.
Jacob was an avid hiker and loved nothing more than spending his afternoons, sometimes days, walking amongst the numerous mountains and hills in his town.
You see, hiking helped Jacob clear his mind. So when he embarked on yet another Sunday afternoon hike, this budding adventurer had no idea what he was about to uncover
For as long as he could remember Jacob had always been curious. Back when he was young, while other children were playing football, Jacob was in the backyard looking for treasure.
But much to the then 10-year-old Jacob’s dismay, he never found anything remotely valuable. Until now that is.
It was a Sunday afternoon and Jacob locked his front door and headed off on his hike. Today was going to be a good day. Even the sun was making a rare appearance, peeking out from behind the white clouds.
With each step he took, Jacob thought it was just going to be an ordinary hike. But he was so wrong.
Although Jacob always stuck to the same hiking route, something felt different today.
You see, there were a path and area that Jacob hadn’t checked out and explored yet, and his gut was telling him to go down that route. He had no idea what was coming.
Jacob had been hiking for around 50 minutes. He could feel the endorphins burst through his body with each step on the grassy path.
He turned around the corner, and then suddenly right in front of his eyes, Jacob saw something that left him lost for words.
You see, just past a hill, amongst the dirt and a few shrubberies, Jacob saw something sticking out of the ground. It was in front of an old church, and from a distance, it looked like a piece of wood, but Jacob couldn’t tell.
He got closer to the strange object and a terrible feeling hit the pit of his stomach.
Jacob wondered what could be hidden underneath the ground. He wanted so badly to dig it up, so he improvised using a jagged rock that was beside him.
Wiping the sweat from his forehead Jacob was determined to find whatever was under the ground. And, when he did, he couldn’t believe what he had found.
Determined to find something – anything — Jacob got to work. He slowly uncovered the moist soil with the rock, until he had made a hole.
He dug deeper, spurred on by the good weather and determination. But when Jacob felt his rock hit something hard, his heart started to race.
Jacob tried as hard as he could to get a closer look and dig deeper but he needed help. As quick as flash, he called his friend James who was an archeologist.
As soon as James heard about startled Jacob’s discovery, he set off straight away armed with all the equipment he needed. Jacob meanwhile, had to sit and wait. He didn’t know it at the time, but he had just discovered something truly incredible.
James and his team arrived at the scene to find a muddy yet excited Jacob. James took a peek at what Jacob had managed it bury out, and his heartbeat raced with excitement.
James knew they had found what they were looking for. And so, he began an extensive excavation. They dug and dug until a metallic clang rang out. James and Jacob’s heart began to pound.
James and his team, as well as an excited Jacob, spent a good four hours out onto the hills trying to get out whatever was in the ground.
And finally, they had struck gold! As James began to clear away the remaining dirt, he had no idea what to expect. But what he found surpassed every expectation.
What Jacob, James, and his team found were remains of the Gjellestad Ship – it was the first Viking ship to be excavated and uncovered in 100 years!
The team found out that the ship, which was 56ft long with a 43ft long keel, was buried 1,200 years ago, a decade after the infamous Viking Age. But more secrets were to be discovered inside this ship.
After excavating the ship, James and his team tried their hardest to find out more about the mysterious and mystical ship, using geo-radar techniques. They discovered a broad-bladed axe, a shield boss, a ringed pin, a pair of tongs, and a hammer inside the ship.
Then finally, two years after initially uncovering the ship, James and his team stumbled across some crucial evidence that changed everything.
James and his team discovered that inside the ship, there was a feast hall, temple, farmhouse, and evidence of 13 more burial mounds.
The team also concluded that the finds discovered, indicated that the site once served as a space for gathering, feasting, and burials. But that wasn’t all.
The amount of burial and community gatherings at the Gjellestad area and ship, indicated to James and team that for generations, a wealthy society once lived there.
Also, with the Viking ship being buried on top of old century old-mounds, this was the “ultimate expression of wealth, status and connection in those days.” James revealed. But with a further two more months left of digging and investigating, will these archaeologists be able to find out any more information and secrets?
The dig is planned to continue for a further two months, and each team member is feeling confident they’ll uncover more information.
For James, he’s spent the past two years pouring his time, effort, and money into the dig. Time will only tell after all. But here’s hoping, they’ll uncover more soon!