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Experts move in to probe the Thing!

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FC Ranger Andrew Norman rests on the Birklands Stone

Archaeologists are bidding to shed light on one of Nottinghamshire’s most mysterious ancient monuments.

Three years ago the Forestry Commission revealed that the Friends of Thynghowe had found a Viking meeting place – or a ‘Thing’ - in the Birklands, near Mansfield, part of Sherwood Forest.

The earthen mound – first noticed on 19th century maps and then identified in the landscape – has now been listed on English Heritage’s National Monument Record.  New studies have also found the name ‘Thynghowe’ in an ancient Sherwood Forest book dated to around the 1200's.

But more research is needed to understand its mysterious story.

Now Nottinghamshire County Council’s Community Archaeology Team will carry out a topographical survey of the hill after the Friends made a successful bid for funding under the council's Local Improvement Scheme.

At the same time the University College London plan to undertake a magnetometry survey which can detect buried archaeology by registering anomalies in the earth's magnetic field after hearing about the Nottinghamshire site at a 'Thing' conference in Shetland and Orkney this year, attended by some of the Friends.

Andrew Norman, from the Forestry Commission, which manages the Birklands, said:

“What was once just a bump in the ground has now got lots of people excited up and down the country.  This is a major effort to unravel more of its secrets.”

There will be a chance for the public to come along and meet the experts and see what they have discovered on 28 and 30 October. To book a place on free pre-arranged tours at 9.30am and 1.30pm contact 07753 625571.

Lynda Mallett, who together with husband Stuart Reddish and John Wood, all from Rainworth, rediscovered Thynghowe, said:

“This site is very important to the history of Sherwood Forest and our local communities. The forest is famous throughout the world and we have now put Thynghowe on the international map. By attending conferences we’ve been to meet experts on Viking Things, helping us to place the site in an international context. We are generating a lot of interest from countries with similar monuments.”

Thynghowe is one of only a handful of such sites known in the British Isles.  It was a landmark where people came together to resolve disputes during the Dark Ages.  It may also have marked the boundary between the Anglo Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and Northumberland.  But it may date back much further - ‘howe’ is a term often used to indicate a prehistoric burial place.  Archaeologists will also be investigating mysterious ancient stones in the area, which could be part of the complex, or even predate it. 

Al Oswald, an Archaeological Investigator with English Heritage, added:

“This is an exceptional survivor and needs further study.”

More details at

Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038 / 01226 246351.
Note to Editor

Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  To find out more got to