Archaeologists Found a Viking Parliament Buried Under a Car Park

By Adam Clark Estes on at

There's some big excitement in the sleepy town of Dingwall, Scotland, where the remnants of Viking parliamentary gathering spot was just discovered under a car park. This is where Norse nobleman would get together and settle their differences before swords started swinging. Now it's a hangout for suspicious looking groups of teens.

The site is formally known as a "Thing"—short for thingvellir, "the field of the assembly"—and there's not much to it. While there were iron fragments from a vessel and pieces of medieval pottery in the ground, the Thing's main feature is a mound that archaeologists believe was built on the instructions of Thorfinn the Mighty (actual name). The powerful Viking earl ruled much of northern Scotland, and the size of the mound suggests it would've made a political statement about Thorfinn's power. Radio carbon dating of the soil in the mound confirms that it was constructed around the time of Thorfinn's reign.

The new discovery really makes you wonder: Why have we paved over countless archaeological treasures? This is the third notable site found underneath a car park this year, the most significant being the body of King Richard III which was found under a car park in Leicester. Just a couple months later, archaeologists found the family crypt of a medieval knight under a car park in Edinburgh. It's not we are particularly insensitive about where we build car parks or anything. There's just a tremendously rich history on these here isles, one that we'll probably continue to dig up for years to come. God knows what's under the buildings. [BBC via Live Science]