Gredstedbro Ship Project

Diving in the river at Gredstedbro

During a normalization project on the small river Kongeå in 1945, workers came across a compact mass of hard wood just outside the small town of Gredstedbro. Some parts were broken off and discarded, but three pieces of the wood were handed over to the Museum in Ribe, as they were thought to be part of a bridge. Only 20 years later they were recognized as belonging to a ship. The three pieces were identified as being parts of a frame, a keel and a stem- or sternpost.

The remains were dated to the 7th century, a period from which only few ship finds exist in Northern Europe. As such this is an important find in describing and understanding the development of ship technology during the Early Middle Ages around the North Sea, and even though only three timber fragments of the ship is actually known, it has repeatedly been referred to in the literature.

Although parts of the wreck were broken off in 1945, the majority of the timbers are still thought to be left in the river bank. Unfortunately the exact location not known today, and since 1965 several attempts to relocate the site have been unsuccessful. As the site is a mere 15 minute drive from our Campus in Esbjerg, and as it is a perfect training site for our students, a series of surveys have been planned in an effort to refind the Gredstedbro ship.

See all posts related to this project