It was a farmer, apparently, who came across the planks of wood while he was working on the banks of the Göta River, near Gothenburg. A short time later, in 1933, while drainage works were being carried out on the waterway, the Äskekärrskeppet was completely excavated. The only Swedish viking ship of which any trace remained emerged once again, demanding a top-notch place in the city’s history. Gothenburg didn’t refuse. After restoration work was completed, the ship — whose name is completely unpronounceable for anyone unfamiliar with Nordic languages — became one of the leading attractions at the city museum.
From the many studies carried out on the ship’s remains, researchers deduced that the Äskekärrskeppet was built in the tenth century as a merchant vessel and not a funeral ship, as was first thought. They also found that it was some 16m long, was in use for almost a century, and during that time underwent a number of repairs. What’s more, while the ship was being reassembled, they discovered runic inscriptions representing cattle and currency, illustrating the importance of the Göta River as a trading route at that time.
Nowadays, just a few wooden planks are left of the Äskekärrskeppet, which for years braced the waters of this Swedish river. Although it wasn’t created as a warship, given the violent reputation the viking raiders earned for themselves, it’s likely this vessel got into the occasional brawl. What this wooden hull might have seen is pure conjecture. What’s in no doubt at all is Äskekärrskeppet’s value as a privileged witness of Gothenburg’s past.