Leeds & West Yorkshire

Wakefield's Viking logboat goes on display in city

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Media captionThe boat was discovered at Stanley Ferry, near Wakefield, in 1838, as Danny Carpenter reports

The remains of a 1,000-year-old Viking boat have gone on display for the first time in the city where it was found.

It was discovered at Stanley Ferry, near Wakefield, in 1838 when an aqueduct was built across the River Calder.

John Whitaker, of Wakefield Museum, said it was found face-down, six feet under the river bed, and was a "very special artefact".

The logboat was in a York museum but is now housed in Wakefield Library.

Hollowed using fire

Mr Whitaker said tests in the 1970s had dated the 19ft (6m) boat to the period when the Vikings and the Danelaw controlled Wakefield and large swatches of northern England.

The Danelaw included counties north of an imaginary line running from London to Bedford and then up to Chester. This was disputed land throughout the 10th Century.

The boat had been made after a log had been hollowed out using fire and then shaped by tools.

Mr Whitaker said: "It's a selection of gnarled pieces of 1,000 year-old wood, and they don't come round every day. It's really special."

It is the earliest known logboat with evidence of fitted ribs, Wakefield Library said.

The place where the the boat was discovered is a natural crossing point of the river and it still has the aqueduct and a road bridge across it.

Image caption The logboat was found during construction of the Stanley Ferry Aqueduct

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