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Clara Bonckaert/Viking genootschap

Ancient Viking ship under Ostend block of flats?

Could the demolition of a block of flats in Ostend provide an opportunity to uncover a Viking ship?  It’s a real possibility.  Seven decades ago, when the block of flats was constructed, the remains of a ship were sighted.  The find is documented, but no excavations were ever carried out.  Now with construction work again underway and the mystery boat still fresh in the memory of some aging Ostenders the prospect of uncovering a Viking ship is once again a real possibility.

Opinions vary as to the origin of the vessel.  Some people speak of a Roman ship, while others are keener to link the vessel to the Norsemen.  Councillor Vanessa Vens wants to seize the opportunity of the demolition and steam ahead with archaeological excavations.

The developer had planned to involve archaeologists in the initial phase of the project to build a new block of flats near Mac Leod Plaza.

“The remains are thought to lie beneath the foundations of a subterranean cellar” says Niko De Pauw of construction firm Degroote.  “When the foundations are dug up archaeologists will be given access.  The foundations will carefully be dug away to allow the archaeologists to see if there is a ship”.

If archaeological finds are made, the construction work will be delayed.  The developer isn’t too bothered about delay as building work is only scheduled to start this summer.  

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