The Viking vessel built by the association Fornföreningen Fibula is now proven to be floating 🙂 and the launching event was a major success! Well, except the weather, maybe, because despite the sunshine, there were quite so heavy northerly winds blowing all day long. So, in terms of talking, standing on top of the table, I almost had to scream in order to be heard. But it went well – and I was so happy to see all the interested people who gave my work such a warm reception!! It is clearly much more fun in doing archaeology when you can share the results and get feedback at the same time.
The vessel was standing in the Viking village for everyone to admire up close before it was time to transport it towards the water. There were so many who wanted to help and it was pure pleasure to see how easily the boat was hauled; it moved almost effortlessly. And the entire distance of 500 m from the place where it was built to Kvarnbo bay was covered with less than 30 minutes. I was really impressed, because, to be honest, I was a little skeptical prior to and kind of thought that the hauling will take hours… But the vessel just glided over the fields and ditches 🙂 What a mighty effort by everyone involved! On the waterfront, before the vessel got into the water, it was given a name for good luck and safe travel – Borge Svan. Translating the name to English it would be “The Swan of Borge” and this name has it’s origins in the fact that first logs for the vessel were from Borgboda, chopped just by the spectacular Viking Age hill-fort of Borge. The vessel was named with the help of mead as It would have been unthinkable to throw any other booze to the Viking vessel 😉 Btw, many ancient seafaring societies have had special ceremonies for launching a new ship and booze has always had quite a central role in these ceremonies. To associate the naming with champagne is, however, pretty recent phenomenon dating to the end of the 19th century. In any case, the person throwing mead across the boat’s bow was Britt Lundberg, the speaker of the Åland Parliament, who thereby had the honor of being the godmother to Borge Svan. And then the boat was slipped into the water where it behaved in a gallant manner.To sum up, it was a wonderful day, and I wish all the luck to Borge Svan as well as to Fibula, who will surely keep up their good work in increasing knowledge about Viking Age on the Åland islands!