Archaeologists have found a carefully-carved wooden toy boat in an old well at the Ørland Main Air Station dig in Norway. According to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) University Museum’s archaeologist, this toy boat tells about the life of the people who lived there a thousand years ago.
This toy boat in Ørland was found in an old well that the residents of that farm had filled with dirt — either the well dried up or its water turned foul. The toy boat has a raised prow resembling a Viking ship, and a hole in the middle for possibly a mast.
A similar boat was found in Trondheim in 1900 when the roads were dug up to install sewer pipes. Unlike Ørland, Trondheim was a city that had established itself as a trading post in the middle ages. It was the capital during the Viking Period until 1217. People were wealthy and thus, children could afford to play with such neatly-constructed toys.
The Ørland farm from where the toy boat was found was far from the sea. Thus, this farm was not a rich farm. Yet, life must have been good enough to find time to carve a technologically advanced object, like this toy boat, for a child.