Highlands & Islands

Possible evidence of Norse parliament site near Thurso

Thing's Va Broch Image copyright Caithness Broch Project
Image caption Thing's Va Broch near Thurso in Caithness

Possible evidence of a medieval Norse parliament meeting place may have been found at an archaeological site in the Highlands.

A geophysical survey of Thing's Va Broch near Thurso has found "faint features" that may relate to activity associated with the meetings.

The site of an Iron Age broch, a stone-built roundhouse, takes it name from "thing", meaning a Norse meeting place.

Archaeologists will now carry out small-scale excavations this month.

The public can take part in the digs, which form part of the Caithness Broch Project and its year-long Caithness Broch Festival.

The geophysical survey of Thing's Va Broch was carried out in August by archaeologists from Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology, the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, Caithness Broch Project and local community volunteers.

Image copyright ORCA/Caithness Broch Project
Image caption An image from the geophysical survey

Caithness has more broch sites than anywhere else in Scotland.

The stone-built roundhouses were some of Scotland's oldest and most formidable structures and can be found in the Highlands and Orkney.

Thing's Va is thought to have been used as a meeting place in Norse times, with the word "thing" coming from the Norse word "ting", meaning parliament.

Thing sites have been found elsewhere in Scotland, including at Dingwall, which was a Viking power base in that part of the Highlands.

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