Found Viking Age 1300 year old Skis

November 08, 2014 2 min read 4 Comments

Photo: Oppland County Authority. Viking Iron Age Ski c. 714 - Ski 172 cm (69 in) long and 14.5 cm (5.7 in) wide
With every passing year melting snow on the worlds glaciers reveal archaeological discoveries formally hidden from view.  Alpine conditions wonderfully preserve these antiquities with curator admiration.  A few days ago in the Oppland region of Norway, skis from the 8th century were discovered!  Photoed is archaeologist Runar Hole with the 1300 year old ski; C14-dated. 

1300 Year old Viking wooden Ski found in Norway - Detailed binding photograph Photo: Oppland County Authority. Viking Iron Age Ski c. 714 - Detail of the binding plate and lacing.

Upon examination you will notice that the binding; a simple leather and wicker strap, sits on a raised platform in the middle of the ski.  Typically ancient skis were used primarily for hunting and traveling long distances.  They are usually found with up turned or rockered tips at both ends similar to our present day 'twin tip' skis.  Oral tradition states the reason for twin tips was utilitarian at jibbers in the Iron Age skiing switch.  Twin tips of this era were constructed in case a ski tip broke mid trip; apparently this happened with regularity.  The skier would simply unlace his binding, turn the ski around, lace up and ski on.  Simplicity and practicality in every respect.

Also discovered near the ski, dating a bit earlier is a Viking arrow (photoed below).  This one dates a bit earlier but is an example of the type of hunting weapons used in these high alpine regions.  C-14 dating approximates close to 6000 years old.  

6000 year old Viking hunting arrow Photo: Oppland County Authority. Viking hunting arrow
With global warming increasing our glaciers melt with every passing year I applaud each and every hiker for their discoveries and their notification to proper authorities for all of us to enjoy.     
Sources: NRK, Oppland County Authority, Wikipedia
© Vintage Winter

4 Responses

Bjorn Porn
Bjorn Porn

February 20, 2019

6,000 years ago is not Viking age.

Ron Carmichael
Ron Carmichael

July 17, 2015

I bet the Norwegians will claim they invented twin tips now lol

Fredrik Luytkis
Fredrik Luytkis

March 09, 2015

A Friend Of mine, the guy who found the skis, made some replicas. I don’t know if you can watch from abroad but check this out.

Oak Thorgeir Valgardsson
Oak Thorgeir Valgardsson

December 19, 2014

Hailsa & Greetings,
WOW ! great timing and need more info on Viking age skies Need replicas made for Cross Country Ski event at end of Feb. Mostly as a prop for Viking Ski event with a reenactment element to it.Welcome any info anyone has to pass on. Takk, Oak

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