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Longships were boats used by the vikings for mostly military purposes. The civilian trade ship was called knarr.

The long ship was relatively shallow going (allowing for rapid deployment on sandy shores), sporting a rectangular sail and oars along almost its entire length. Oftenmost longships were clinker built, and waterproofed by moss drenched in tar.

Our best evidence for longship construction comes from ship-burials. It was common in Viking society for kings to be buried under a long burial mound in a ship with rich possessions. The Oseberg ship burial in Norway and Sutton Hoo in England are both good examples.