Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/93

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83
SOME PREHISTORIC VESSELS.

has been supposed that they were the shields which the soldiers used in action, and which were hung there for the sake of convenience. It is now evident that they had no purpose but ornament, as they were of wood, not much thicker than pasteboard, and could not resist a sword-thrust that was given with any force.

A large block of oak, solidly fixed in the bottom at the middle of the vessel, had a square hole for the mast; and some circumstances indicated that the mast could be laid down. A few pieces of rope, and some rags of a woolen stuff, probably the sail, were also found.

The funeral-chamber was built on one side of the tumulus, with strong planks and beams set obliquely one against another, the whole occupying a space of two or three square metres. This was opened, with the expectation of finding arms or precious objects, but the explorers were disappointed. The tomb had probably been violated at some previous epoch. A few threads of a kind of brocade, a few parts of bridles and saddles, some articles in bronze, silver, and lead, and metallic buttons, on one of which was artistically represented a knight letting down his lance, were all that could be found here. The bones of a horse and of two or three hunting-dogs were discovered in the sides of the chamber.

A large copper vessel, supposed to be the kettle of the ship, was found in the forward part of the boat. It had been hammered out of a single sheet of copper, and afforded satisfactory evidence of the industrial skill of those remote times. Another vessel, of iron, with ears and a bail, was found, with some wooden bowls near it. It was at first intended to remove the whole of the ship to the Museum of Christiania, and Mr. Treshan, a large proprietor of the neighborhood,

PSM V19 D093 Attempted restoration of an ancient scandinavian vessel.jpg
Fig. 2.—Attempted Restoration op an Ancient Scandinavian Vessel.

offered to pay the expense of the removal. The persons having the matter in charge, however, decided, after a careful examination and consideration of the subject by an expert, that it would be impracti-