Saturday, 17 December 2011

Viking Thing Site Research Project in Sherwood Forest Looks for Volunteers

Finding The Vikings of Sherwood Forest

The Friends of Thynghowe have just been awarded £49,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

This money will fund a two year project 'Thynghowe – and the forgotten heritage of Sherwood', in the Birklands area of Sherwood Forest.

The project starts with a Lidar survey in January (Lidar is an optical remote sensing technology, a type of aerial photography). To investigate further the results of the Lidar survey the project team will recruit local people to join in the research activities. These activities will include volunteers going into the forest and 'ground truthing' – a form of surveying that uses the Lidar results to see what is actually on the ground. The project will also train people to use the Nottingham Archive and other sources to research and record their findings and discover their local heritage. It is hoped volunteers will include young people and people who may not have done anything like this before. The project will have a public launch and display at the beginning of March at Mansfield Museum.

The Friends of Thynghowe group was formed seven years ago from members of the three local history groups of Edwinstowe, Clipstone/Kings Clipstone, and Warsop after Stuart Reddish and Lynda Mallett rediscovered a Viking Assembly site called a Thyng or Thing deep in Sherwood Forest. During the last seven years the group have worked hard to research the area and to bring it to national and international attention.

Lynda Mallett one of the project managers said “We aim to include people who would not normally participate in these sort of activities for all sorts of reasons. We have funding to pay for transport where required, and even carer support for those who have elderly parents or children. One of our partners is Greenwood Community Forest and Gill Grievson their Greenwood & Conservation Projects Officer is very experienced in recruiting people particularly young people who need encouragement to participate”.

Emma Sayer, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said “We at HLF are delighted to be able to offer our support to the Friends of Thyghowe. This is a fascinating site, this project has the potential to open up our understanding of the history of Sherwood Forest. By giving volunteers from across the community the opportunity to get involved in researching and interpreting the results of the survey, more people will have the chance to learn about and explore the heritage of their local area. We look forward to sharing in their discoveries as the project progresses.”

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Thynghowe Nottinghamshire Topographical Survey Report

Friends of Thynghowe: Here is our full survey report which has just been published. We are now working to obtain more funding to investigate what appears to be a possible court circle to the side of the 'law rock'. The adjoining area is called Budby South Forest and I am now researching the Icelandic Norse as to Bud (booth) and By (Farm) being a possible indication of a Thing settlement.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Things Viking: Ship Yard Found on Scottish Island

Friday, May 6, 2011 News

Investigations by marine archaeologists at Loch na h-Airde on Skye’s Rubh an Dunain peninsula by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) have uncovered the remains of a possible medieval shipyard, including boat timbers dating from the 1100s, a stone-built quay, a man-made entrance canal, and a blockage system designed to keep a constant water level in the Loch.
It is now believed that the site has been a focus for maritime activity for many centuries, from the Vikings to the MacAskill and Macleod clans of Skye. The loch and canal would likely have been used for the secure wintering of boats, along with their construction and maintenance.

Loch na h-Airde. Image: Mac ind Óg, Flickr
Loch na h-Airde. Image: Mac ind Óg, Flickr

Colin Martin, a marine archaeologist specialising in ship wrecks who is investigating Loch na h-Airde said, “This site has enormous potential to tell us about how boats were built, serviced and sailed on Scotland’s western seaboard in the medieval period – and perhaps during the early historic and prehistoric eras as well. There is no other site quite like this in Scotland.”

RCAHMS aerial survey team have been assisting in the investigation with reconnaissance flights photographing the loch and the surrounding area. As well as providing a context for the site in the landscape – helping to explain where and how 12th century mariners lived and worked – the imagery will also be used at high resolution by ground surveyors to identify possible dive sites for ships and other remains.
We are now so used to thinking about travelling round Scotland by roads, that it is difficult to visualise how our ancestors might have used the sea as a highway
RCAHMS aerial survey manager Dave Cowley said, “We are now so used to thinking about travelling round Scotland by roads, that it is difficult to visualise how our ancestors might have used the sea as a highway, connecting communities across these maritime landscapes. The aerial perspective gives us an excellent sense of this, showing the inter-relations of land and sea, and helping us to understand how people may have travelled, traded – and fought – on the waters around Scotland’s western isles.”
The ongoing aim of the investigation is to build up the most accurate possible picture of the site’s historical significance to Scotland’s western seaboard, allowing landowners and other  heritage bodies to map out a plan for its future conservation and preservation. 
Canmore mapping (sites of Scotland on interactive searchable mapping)


Sunday, 1 May 2011

Norse Heritage: Shetlands

"I was told Old Scatness was the best. So I packed a tent and a rucksack, took a coach and an overnight ferry to Shetland. I had not been able to get a hold of them on the phone. I arrived and stated my intention to volunteer. Thankfully, as I was standing in the road with a bag, they felt they couldn’t send me home" READ ON.

Old Scatness Excavation Manual: A Case Study in Archaeological Recording

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Hyllestad Norway Kvernsteins Millstone Park


Kvernsteins Millstone Park

The production of millstones in Hyllestad started over 1,000 years ago and used to be a major industry employing up to 1,000 people. Millstones were exported to Denmark, the Baltic Sea region, and across Norway. Many of the stone crosses to be seen along the coast are made from millstones from Hyllestad, including the crosses in Eivindvik and Korssund. The park offers nature trails that visualize the history of the industry, with debris, broken product, and half-carved stones still not separated from the rock surface. At the stonemason camp there is a guided tour of the historic stone quarry in the mill stone park and a visit to Åfjordstein where you can see how mill stones are used in a modern, new design.

Demonstrations are given by the young people of the district attending the local school.
The spend one afternoon a week for a whole year learning old and ancient skills to show visitors how life was once lived in this area.
These young people are wonderful, confident and inspiring and extremely good at the skills they have learnt. The adults learned a lot from them!
Click here to visit the website

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Viking Woman : Dundee academics reconstruct Viking woman's face

Academics at Dundee University have helped recreate the face of a Viking woman whose skeleton was unearthed in York more than 30 years ago.
The facial reconstruction was achieved by laser-scanning her skull to create a 3D digital model.
Eyes were then digitally created, along with hair and a bonnet, to complete the look.
The project was part of a £150,000 investment at York's Jorvik Viking Centre.
Viking Womans face reconstructed full story here

Jorvik Viking Centre: Official Guide
Jorvik: The Viking Kings

Sunday, 17 April 2011


A thing (Old Norse, Old English and Icelandic: þing; other modern Scandinavian languages: ting) was the governing assembly in Germanic and introduced into some Celtic societies, made up of the free people of the community and presided by lawspeakers, meeting in a place called a thingstead. Today, the term lives on in the official names of national legislatures and political and judicial institutions in the Nordic countries, in the Manx form tyn, as a term for the three legislative bodies on the Isle of Man, and in the English term husting.
In Anglo-Saxon England, a folkmoot or folkmote (Old English - "meeting of the people") was a governing general assembly consisting of all the free members of a tribe, community or district. It was the forerunner to the witenagemot, which was in turn in some respects the precursor of the modern Parliament.
The Slavic Veche similarly developed from a general assembly into a legislature, and by some theories might have been directly inspired by the Scandinavian institution brought to Rus by the Varangians.

Click here for a list of Thing sites on Mainland Britain

Landscapes of Governance UCL Early Medieval Assembly Sites

 Thynghowe Anglo-Saxon and Viking Assembly Site Sherwood Forest

A three-year interdisciplinary research project bringing archaeology, place-names and written sources together in a national study of early medieval assembly sites.

Early medieval western Europe developed in the shadow of the classical Roman world. While substantial traces of the organizational capacity of the Roman Empire can still be seen in Britain, for example the Roman road network and Hadrians Wall, evidence for power and authority in the centuries following the Roman occupation is much more subtle. Arbitration, negotiation and dispute settlement were fundamental to the formation of kingdoms and ultimately the nation state of England, but the places where such activities occurred have never been comprehensively studied as archaeological sites, their names investigated only once in the last 80 years by the Scandinavian scholar O. S. Anderson.

Landscapes of Governance is a three-year interdisciplinary venture bringing archaeology, place-names and written sources together for the first time in a comprehensive national research project.

The Assembly Project (TAP) - Meeting-places in Northern Europe AD 400-1500

Thynghowe Sherwood Forest Photo Stuart C. Reddish

TAP is an international collaborative project investigating the first systems of governance in Northern Europe.

The TAP team consists of a number of international scholars from Norway, Austria and the UK, who are carrying out a large scale study of the role of assemblies in the creation of collective identities and emergent kingdoms in Medieval Northern Europe (AD 400-1500).

The project was launched in June 2010 and will run for three years.

The Assembly Project is financially supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme ( which is co-funded by AHRC, AKA, DASTI, ETF, FNR, FWF, HAZU, IRCHSS, MHEST, NWO, RANNIS, RCN, VR and The European Community FP7 2007-2013, under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities programme.

To visit the Project website click here

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Thing Sites and World Heritage

Thingvellir Iceland IN?

A recent application for Serial Nomination of Viking Sites by Icelands Thingvellir to the World Heritage Convention has included the following comments:

Although a number of medieval assembly sites are known in other European countries, particularly in Norway, Þingvellir is historically, archaeologically and symbolically the most significant. In other countries, the assembly sites are those of local or regional assemblies that performed a different role. The Althing as a general assembly represented the whole country and was in effect the capital of Iceland for two weeks each year where key legal and administrative decisions were made.
Þingvellir has more visible remains than any other thing site, and there are indications of very rich archaeological layers yet to be explored. No other sites show visible ruins, although mounds are extant at the Tynwald in the Isle of Man, Gulating and Frostating in Norway, and at the Thingmount in UK. In addition to physical remains and national status, the Althing site at Þingvellir in Iceland has extra values connected with its long history of continued use, documentation and knowledge of its governance role, transmitted down the centuries in the Icelandic sagas, and through its dramatic natural setting which has changed little since the 9th century. It has thus acquired symbolic associations with Icelandic identity and with Norse culture and is perceived as a place of outstanding aesthetic value.

 Tynwald Isle of Man OUT?

The Tynwald on the other hand, although arguably older than the Icelandic Althing is heavily restored and landscaped, and sits in an urban setting. It has not come to be associated with feelings of identity, nor is it perceived as capturing the essence of Germanic law in such a way as the Althing. The Thingmount is largely unknown and, although in a beautiful setting, not associated with any communal memory of its function or significance. Further, most of the five Norwegian tings are marked with later 19th and 20th century monuments. 

 Dingwall?? It is asserted that the Thing site in Dingwall was located where the Cromartie Memorial Car Park is now.

The Althing is thus unique through its extensive built remains, its unspoilt setting and for its strong and well known associations with Germanic Law and Norse culture.
The Full Unesco Document can be read here

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Viking Sherwood Forest has Something to Shout About

VIKINGS could have built a mound in Sherwood Forest as a place where they could make themselves heard, according to the latest studies by academics.
Four years ago, the Forestry Commission revealed that a rare Viking meeting place – or a Thing – had been found in the forest in north Nottinghamshire.
Since then efforts have stepped up to unravel the past of the area, known as Thynghowe, and earlier this year archaeologists probed the site with the aid of hi-tech equipment. Read more
Yorkshire Post News For Thynghowe

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Anglo Saxon Link to Thynghowe Assembly Sherwood Forest

Survey on Thynghowe Photo: Lynda Mallet

Four years ago it was revealed that a rare Viking meeting place – a Thynghowe – had been re-discovered in Sherwood Forest, England. Since then, efforts have been stepped up to unravel its past and gradually one of Nottinghamshire’s most mysterious ancient monuments is yielding its secrets.

Read the Archaeology News - then buy the Trowel at Past Horizons Tools

Link to PAST HORIZONS Advetures in Archaeology

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Thynghowe Sherwood Forest World Heritage Day Walk 16th April 2011

 Thynghowe Walkers in Sherwood Forest

The Friends of Thynghowe will be holding their annual 'perambulation' walk in Birklands on Saturday 16th April. The walk will be just over 3 miles and will include many of the stories from the past of Thynghowe and the Forest of Birklands. The tour will last between 3 and 4 hours. Everybody is welcome, please reserve your place through the Forestry Commission on 01623 822447 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              01623 822447      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

This walk will also mark World Heritage Day (Annually the 18th of April). World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. Protecting and preserving this valuable asset demands the collective efforts of the international community. This special day offers an opportunity to raise the public's awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability. 

Friday, 8 April 2011

Stuart Reddish & Lynda Mallett Thynghowe BBC Radio Open Country

For this week's Open Country, Richard Uridge is in the Birklands area of Sherwood Forest finding out about its ancient past when he visits Thynghowe, an ancient open-air meeting place where hundreds of Vikings gathered to make important decisions.
Presenter: Richard Uridge
Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Thynghowe & Birklands BBC Radio 4 April 9th 2011

 Recent Survey of Thynghowe Photo Stuart Reddish

For this week's BBC Open Country, Richard Uridge is in the Birklands area of Sherwood Forest finding out about its ancient past when he visits Thynghowe, an ancient open-air meeting place where hundreds of Vikings gathered to make important decisions.
Presenter: Richard Uridge
Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Thing Sites Project Gulen Norway 5-7 April 2011

Anne-K. Misje, Martin Kulild and Frode Iverson. Photo Lynda Mallett

Presentation of Paper by Frode Iverson. The Assembly Project – Meeting-places in Northern Europe AD 400-1500 (TAP)

Research question: What was the role of assemblies (things) in the creation, consolidation and maintenance of collective identities, emergent polities and kingdoms in early medieval Northern European populations and communities? This project, via 3 interlocking strands of multi-disciplinary research addresses this fundamental question, key to our academic understanding of the emergence of nation states in early Historic Europe.

Full Details of the Project

Viking Thing Sites of Northern Europe

 Gulatinget Millenium Site Norway. Photo Lynda Mallett

This blog links to in-depth information about Viking Thing sites and their history. Thing sites are the assembly sites spread across North West Europe as a result of the Viking diaspora and Norse settlements. Viking-age things were public assemblies of the free men and functioned as both parliaments and courts. Viking society was self-regulated. Law and order was based upon the Thing system, which had already been established via common-meetings dating to least 600 AD. The Thing had legislative and judiciary powers. Every free man had a duty to meet at the Thing’s common-meetings. These common-meetings might last several days, therefore the Thing was also an occasion for a large marketplace and festival. 

Where you can visit Viking Sites: