The boathouse has existed since the Late Iron Age and was built along the shoreline. They were open rectangular buildings with walls built of stone and/or peat, as well as had turf-covered roofs. They were used to house both small fishing boats owned by individuals, well as the larger ships controlled by the Chieftain and used for trade and warfare.
Dissemination text on boathouse at Lofotr Viking Museum. Audio file is coming soon.
Boathouses were and remain an important part of the maritime cultural landscape of Lofoten. Vestvågøy has the highest concentration of Iron Age boathouse remains in northern Norway, with at least 62 of the 82 registered being dated to this period. The largest boathouse was found on Holsøya and was 39 meters long.
Boathouses were used for storing boats but could also be used for seasonal housing. Cooking, metalwork and other everyday chores would have taken place while the boat was not in storage. The boathouse may have housed fishermen during the winter cod season in the same way as the use of rorbus – fisherman’s cabins – in Lofoten during later centuries up until the present time.