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Viking ‘Thing’ discovered in Sherwood Forest

A Viking Assembly site or ‘Thing’ has been discovered in the heart of England’s Sherwood Forest.

Photo courtesy Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC and the Friends of Thynghowe group have announced the findings of a Geophysical Magnetometer Survey of the site of Thynghowe which they call “extremely significant.”

The site of Thynghowe is located at the summit of Hanger Hill on the boundary of Budby, Warsop and Edwinstowe parishes, on the edge of Birklands wood, the home of the world famous Major Oak (the legendary hideaway of Robin Hood) and the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, and was the location of a meeting site used by Vikings in the heart of Sherwood Forest. The name Thynghowe means ‘hill of assembly’ and the site is the location of a Vikings Assembly site or ‘Thing’.

The site is home to a complex of monuments which has been slowly pieced together over many years through painstaking research by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC and the Friends of Thynghowe group.

Photo courtesy Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

Their research has shown the presence of:

* A ‘thing mound’,
* A circular enclosure 75.0m -77.5m in diameter which has been shown to be Medieval or Saxon in date – which could represent a possible Viking ‘court circle’,
* Holloways including ‘Nether Warsop Gate’
* A spread of pot-boiler stones,
* Two possible hearths,
* Boundary stones for Warsop and Edwinstowe,
* The ‘Birklands Forest Stone’,
* The ditch and bank of the boundary of Warsop and Edwinstowe Parish,
* The possible identification as the village of Budby as meaning the ‘booth farm’ where delegates attending the assembly may have stayed in ‘booths’.

Andy Gaunt, Director of Mercian Archaeological Services CIC, explains “this monument complex of possible ‘assembly features’ could be unique in terms of preservation anywhere in England, and possibly anywhere in Northern Europe and around the Viking Diaspora.”

The report on the Geophysical Magnetometer Survey of the site of Thynghowe is now available to download via: http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/reports/thynghowe_magnetometer_survey_report_2017.pdf

Andy Gaunt adds that “despite being told (by archaeologists) in 2004 that there was nothing at the site, Stuart Reddish and Lynda Mallett stuck to the task, formed the Friends of Thynghowe Group, and working alongside archaeological and other experts have helped to save, interpret and begin to understand and promote this amazing site at the heart of Sherwood Forest.

“The group has spent 13 years so far studying, working, clearing, maintaining, promoting, and helping to protect this site.They are an amazing example of what community action, commitment, and personal drive can achieve.

“It simply cannot be stressed enough that without the dedication, knowledge, inspiration and continuous hard work of the Friends of Thynghowe and all of the other volunteers at the site from the group and general public who have given their time, alongside the incredible efforts of staff in the Forestry Commission (and indeed Mercian!); the site of Thynghowe and its hugely important archaeological remains could have been lost forever and have remained unknown and unrecorded.

“At the very least the reward for their collective efforts is that the site is beginning to be recorded and understood, and has been saved for future generations.

“For our part, we are extremely proud of the work we have done at the site over the years, and are very passionate and dedicated to this site and many others across Sherwood Forest.”

Photo courtesy Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

You can learn more about the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project at http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/sherwoodforest.html. You can also like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

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