Thursday, 26 January 2012

A Preview of the Thingsites website: A Northern Periphery Project

Northern Periphery Thing Sites

The THING Project - THing sites International Networking Group 
Total Budget: € 989 002
Total Funding Request: € 485 378
The overall objective for the THING Project is to exchange knowledge, specify, develop and test new and improved services for sustainable management and business development at the Northern European Thing sites. The project results should also contribute to a future nomination process of a serial inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List of the North Atlantic Thing sites.
Thing sites are the assembly sites which spread across North West Europe as a result of the Viking diasporas and Norse settlements.

This project focussed on a partnership of eight locations representing peripheral coastal communities that shared a Norse or Viking Heritage. There are of course many other sites of Viking Assemblies scattered throughout Scandinavia and Northern Europe.
The Objectives of this particular study were:
The overall objectives will be to achieve a strong and complementary inter-regional partnership implementing the following sub-objectives:
  1. Run a series of surveys and documentation activities and international workshops and seminars held in each of the involved regions to develop shared knowledge and understanding of the history of Thing Sites to support the new regional service development activities
  2. Implement and test interpretation methods for local, regional and inter-regional content development and branding, and mainstream this into recommendations for improved services for sustainable tourism and site management
  3. Combine the results and new knowledge into an ICT web2.0 based service to promote and support the protection, management and interpretation of the Thing sites and to stimulate mobilisation and networking between the interested end-users, regional and international knowledge providers including the regional authorities and universities.
  4. Deliver a well managed and successfully communicated project
The thingsites website is the first 'deliverable' of the project. The project is due to complete its tasks during 2012.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Thing Site Project In Sherwood Forest Heritage Funding Award

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

Viking Assembly Site Sherwood Forest 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.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Viking Sweden : The Gutnal Ting of Gotland

Gotland Rune Stone
The present-day small village of Roma on Gotland in the Baltic Sea was the
physical and symbolic centre of the island in the Iron Age and into Medieval
times (Fig. 1). The Cistercian monastery and the meeting place of the island’s
assembly, the all-thing, two well-known features of medieval Roma, have often
been taken as indications of an egalitarian and non-stratified society on Gotland
during the Viking Age and Middle Ages. It is here proposed, however,
that an older Iron Age cult site at Roma eventually came under the control of
a chieftain or major landowner who introduced Christianity, founded a monastery
and inaugurated the thing in Roma in Viking or early medieval times,
just as his equals did elsewhere in Scandinavia. While the later medieval thing
was probably located near the monastery, an alternative site is suggested for
the older all-thing.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Viking Faroes: Tinganes Parliamentary Assembly

 Visit their web site

Tinganes - the oldest Parliament in the world

Tinganes is the tip of the low ness or cape that divides the harbour of Tórshavn into an eastern and a western part. Because of its position in the middle of the Faroe Islands, the settlers that came from Western Norway in the ninth century A.D. chose these flat cliffs to be the place for their main ”Thing”, where they met for their annual gatherings. Here they came to trade and to settle their quarrels and under the guidance of the Løgmaður (the Lawsayer) to decide on matters of common interest.
So, from the very beginning, this was the ness of the Thing and the centre of political life in the Faroes. According to the ancient Saga of the Faroese it was here, around the first millenial change, that Christianity was announced as the religion of the islands, imposed by orders of the Norwegian King and under threat of losing your head and properties if you did not convert. The Saga tells us that here they met, the two main chieftains, the old pagan sorcerer, Tróndur í Gøtu, and the young Christian, Sigmundur Brestisson, and later on the younger man forced the old chieftain by the sword to be baptized.

Viking England: Thynghowe Assembly Site

Thynghowe in an international context

In Old English, Old Norse and Icelandic languages Ting or Thing means a governing assembly. A hierarchy of these assemblies covered a whole country, the provinces and the hundreds. At an assembly the free people of the area would make decisions and resolve disputes. These structures survived into medieval times in some areas of northern Europe and the governments of Iceland and Isle of Man still use names derived from Thing.
The inclusion of the term howe in Thynghowe implies a burial mound and the use of ancient burial mounds as Things is well documented in early medieval Scandinavia. The custom of a king sitting on a howe as expression of his power is referred to in old Nordic sagas. Hanger Hill, the modern name of the hill, may be derived from Haugr the Old Norse term for a burial mound although Hangra the Old English name for a wood on a slope is another possible source.
Thing sites exist throughout northern Europe mainly through place names but without exact locations. Few known sites have survived undamaged. In the UK, Dingwall (Tingwall) in Scotland is a car park and Thingwall on the Wirral is now agricultural land. However, most of the Ting mound at Fell Foot Farm at Little Langdale in Cumbria can still be seen from an adjoining field but lack of documentary evidence gives cause for UNESCO  to state "The Thingmount is largely unknown and, although in a beautiful setting, not associated with any communal memory of its function or significance"..

Thynghowe’s survival is probably due to the fact that it was within the boundaries of the royal hunting Forest of Sherwood Forest. The land then passed to the estate of the Dukes of Newcastle and Portland and in recent times it has been managed by the Forestry Commission. It is over a mile from any road or habitation.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Viking Iceland: Thingvellir Parliamentary Assembly

Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is the National Park where the Althing, an open-air assembly representing the whole of Iceland, was established in 930 and continued to meet until 1798. Over two weeks a year, the assembly set laws - seen as a covenant between free men - and settled disputes. The Althing has deep historical and symbolic associations for the people of Iceland. The property includes the Þingvellir National Park and the remains of the Althing itself: fragments of around 50 booths built from turf and stone. Remains from the 10th century are thought to be buried underground. The site also includes remains of agricultural use from the 18th and 19th centuries. The park shows evidence of the way the landscape was husbanded over 1,000 years.