Documentary: Saga Farmann – The Viking Merchant Ship

Introduction: A Journey into Viking Shipbuilding

In the heart of Tønsberg, Norway, at Vikingodden (Lindahlplan), a unique gathering of craftsmen and volunteers from around the world unite, bonded by their shared fascination for Viking shipbuilding and history. Their most recent project is the full-scale recreation of the Klåstadskipet, a thousand-year-old merchant ship discovered in a field near Larvik in 1893. Preserved remains of the hull can be seen at the Slottsfjellsmuseet in Tønsberg, providing a tangible link to the past. With the collaboration of archaeologists and traditional boat builders, this ambitious group engages in experimental archaeology to decipher the original ship’s design and construction.

The Saga Farmann: A Modern-Day Viking Ship

Named Saga Farmann, the new ship employs the ancient Nordic krarn technique, a clinker-built method recently recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. As the film’s protagonist, Saga Farmann’s construction showcases the relentless determination, grand visions, strong wills, and challenging financial responsibilities of Viking shipbuilders.

Beyond the Ship: Exploring Viking Peaceful Endeavors

While the Saga Farmann serves as the film’s focal point, the story also delves into the lesser-known aspects of Viking culture, highlighting their roles as skilled shipbuilders, traders, and explorers.

A People-to-People Expedition: Following the Footsteps of Giants

Religious historian Eivind Luthen, driven by his passion for Viking history, organizes a “people-to-people” expedition with Saga Farmann. The ambitious journey takes them across Europe, through the Black Sea, and finally to Istanbul, retracing the Vikings’ steps to Miklagard. Drawing inspiration from legendary explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Thor Heyerdahl, Luthen collects 3,000 signatures from individuals eager to join the adventure.

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Preparing for the Voyage: Embracing Tradition and Innovation

As the crew readies themselves and the ship for the long journey through training courses and sailing practice, they also embrace modern innovation. Equipped with newly developed electric motors hidden beneath the deck, Saga Farmann becomes the world’s most advanced Viking ship, capable of navigating rivers and canals with ease. The film follows the ship as it sails alongside its sister ship, Saga Oseberg, through the Telemark Canal.

Unforeseen Challenges: Navigating Uncertainty

However, the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and escalating tensions in Ukraine cast a shadow over the ambitious voyage. The team must weigh the risks and rewards of their journey as they aim to reach Istanbul by October 2023 and participate in Turkey’s 100th-anniversary celebrations with their friends in the archaeological community.

Conclusion: A Testament to the Viking Spirit

The story of Saga Farmann’s construction and journey serves as a powerful testament to the enduring spirit of the Vikings, a spirit that transcends time and space, bridging the past and present to inspire a new generation of adventurers, shipbuilders, and historians.

For licensing or additional information visit Coates Productions.

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