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Archaeologists find Viking meeting site in England’s Sherwood Forest


Merican Archaeological Services CIC

Zelda Caldwell - published on 06/21/17

The “Thing mound” dates from the 9th century.

After decades of research and digging, archaeologists in the north of England have discovered physical evidence of a “Thing site,” or meeting place, where Vikings assembled to enact laws and settle disputes.

The site is home to Sherwood Forest, an actual woodland made famous by the tale of Robin Hood, who along with his Merry Men stole from the rich to give to the poor.

The Viking meeting place was first discovered by local residents in 2004, who later founded a community action group (The Friends of Thynghowe) to continue research and exploration into the archaeological history of Sherwood Forest.

Archaeologist Andy Gaunt of Mercian Archaeological Services told the Observer that without the community action group, the discovery may not have happened.

“It was the group, their drive and passion, who have helped to find and protect this site,” Gaunt said.

In the Northeast of England, the population fell under the Danelaw ( or Viking rule) in the 9th century. Other well known Thing sites include Iceland’s Thingvellier and Althing, and while evidence of Viking settlements has been found across the British Isles, Thing site discoveries have been rare, according to an article in the Observer.

Viking rule in England ended in the year 878, when Alfred the Great defeated the Danish army at the Battle of Cynuit. As a term of surrender King Alfred demanded that the Danish warlord, Guthrum, be baptized a Christian. King Alfred served as godfather.

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