The Oseberg longship in the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo. Photo Arnejohs
Experts have discovered what they think may be one of Britain’s most important archaeological finds – a Viking longship buried under a pub car park in Merseyside.
The ship was located used a high-tech Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) device, which traced its outline under 2-3 metres of waterlogged clay below the car park of the Railway Inn in Meols, the Wirral.
Professor Stephen Harding of the University of Nottingham, who made the discovery, is now looking for funding to excavate the site, and believes that its shape and outline matches that of a 1,000-year-old Norse transport vessel.
The ship was first uncovered in 1938 by workmen who were knocking down the old Railway Inn to be rebuilt further away from the road. They found parts of a clinker-built ship but covered it up again to finish converting the site into a car park.
Meol’s has been inhabited since Neolithic times and was given its present name by the Vikings, who occupied most of the Wirral peninsula around the ninth to tenth centuries. Although it is several miles from the sea the ship could have been washed up there during flooding and then sunk in boggy ground.
The only other Viking longship discoveries in the UK have been on Orkney and the Isle of Man.