In the Wake of a Viking Ship Tragedy: An Archaeologist’s Challenge to a Cold War Cover-up
2013 (English)In: Journal of Archaeology and Ancient History (JAAH), E-ISSN 2001-1199, no 7, 3-24 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Ormen Friske, a Swedish reconstruction of a Viking ship, was wrecked in a North Sea gale in 1950, with the loss of its crew of 15 young men. At the time, the disaster was attributed to bad construction and poor seamanship, and this is still the customary interpretation. Although the wreck was available for examination, Swedish authorities decided that it should be discarded; subsequently, the tragedy was never seriously investigated. Any role by the US in the bombing of the island of Heligoland that coincided in time and place with the sinking of the vessel was also denied or downplayed. The bombing as such was later acknowledged by US military authorities, but its possible part in the Ormen Friske disaster is still unclear. The event is here examined within the context of the Cold War. In particular, the Swedish consulate in Hamburg wished to avoid annoying the British authorities, who at the time ruled this sector of occupied Germany. Several aspects from working with contemporary and recent sources are discussed. Some parts of the ship and personal belongings of the crew are held in museums or kept by relatives and are here treated as bearers of the narrative of the tragedy.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Archaeology and Ancient History Uppsala University , 2013. no 7, 3-24 p.
Archaeology of the contemporary past, Ormen Friske, Gokstad ship, Viking ships, Frisksportförbundet, Heligoland, Air bombing, Cold war, Memorabilia, Narratives, Mentality, Reflexivity.
Research subject Archaeology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-207083OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-207083DiVA: diva2:651269