Investigating a Forest of Legend

The New Year will hopefully offer new information regarding what is known as Sherwood Forest’s ‘Thing’ , an ancient monument that archeologists believe is closer to being better understood. In this article, you will learn what the site means in cultural history and what archeologists hope to learn.

Five years ago, an open-air meeting place where Vikings met with one another to discuss matters of the law was discovered in the Birklands, Sherwood Forest. This type of gathering space was also called a ‘Thing’. The site was located when three local historians when participating in a treasure hunt of their own making. A trio of friends got a hold of a document that dated back 200 years. It spoke of a walk around part of Sherwood Forest that possessed an ancient boundary.

The friends went to investigate the document and looked for the boundary on the landscape. They encountered a place called Hanger Hill, which was decorated with three stones of interest. More research was conducted and it was learned that the same place was called Thynghowe on a map that dated back to 1609. The name of the location was significant, as the Vikings used the word ‘thyng’ to refer to a place of assembly. The ‘howe’ part of the map name could refer to a Bronze Age burial ground.

Upon making this connection, the Friends of Thynghowe was created and invitations were sent out to local historical societies asking if they would like to join in the fun. The site has been researched ever since and it was found that it even references in an ancient Forest Book that traces back to the 1200s. The meeting place could have possibly been a Bronze Age burial mound. Another theory is that the site pinpoints the boundary between the Anglo Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and Northumberland. It could even date back much later in time , perhaps a burial place that was used during prehistoric times.

The excitement surrounding the site is growing, as nearly 4,000 years of history could be uncovered in the middle of Sherwood Forest.

Such a meeting place was chosen because of its ability to project a voice. When someone spoke at the meeting place in the Birklands, the sound traveled hundreds of yards away. For many centuries, the location was a popular place for events and other occasions to take place. Evidence suggests that people gathered at the spot up until the 1800s.

The site has now earned the status as being recognized as a national rarity and was added to their National Monument Record. Now, experts are interested in surveying the hill to see if they can uncover archeology that has been buried under the earth. The exploration is scheduled to take place in January 2011. Local donations will fund the endeavors of the Friends of Thynghowe.