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Ancient boat buried beneath parking lot?

SEPT. 18 — After years under ground, a Viking longboat in Wirral, England, might get to see the light of day.

Viking expert professor Stephen Harding from the University of Nottingham recently used ground penetrating radar to determine the ship’s location underneath a parking lot near Railway Inn, according to U.K.-based daily newspaper The Independent. He is now seeking funds to have the boat excavated in its entirety.

The boat was originally discovered in 1938 by builder John McRae about 10 feet below the surface. However, the foreman gave him orders to cover it up quickly, because an archeological dig would slow down the construction schedule, according to The Independent. Before McRae died in 1991, a sketch was made by his family based on the proportions he could recall, which were then sent to archeologists at LiverpoolUniversity and put on file.

The details of the boat have come to light again because the present owner of the pub has requested planning permission for a new patio. Harding, who has done much research on the Viking settlement that once covered the Wirral peninsula, conducted the scan of the area to find a “boat-shaped anomaly,” according to The Independent.

“Although we still don’t know what sort of vessel it is, it’s very old for sure and its Nordic clinker design, position and location suggest it may be a transport vessel from the Viking settlement period if not long afterwards,” Harding told the BBC.

— Elizabeth Ellis