On Saturday 14th June Peel will welcome the MS Nybakk Venner – a fishing boat turned floating museum exhibition as it sails on the Viking ‘Thing Trail 2014’. The crew consists of a group of 20 including members of the Nybakk family. The Orkney Museum has provided the travelling exhibition ‘Thing Project’. The Thing Project, with partners in Norway, Iceland, Faroes, Shetland, Orkney, Scotland and the Isle of Man, is an EU funded project to promote understanding of ‘Thing’ sites; the Viking Age law assemblies and parliament.
The ‘Thing Project’ exhibition will be on display on the MS Nybakk Venner as the boat sails from Norway via Shetland and various Scottish ports coming to berth in Peel on the Isle of Man this weekend (14th June).
Things – from the Old Norse word þing, meaning assembly – were an early system of justice and administration. When the Vikings arrived in a new place they brought with them their customs and legal systems. Thing assemblies were where political decisions were made, laws upheld and disputes settled. They acted as meeting places and were often the focus for trade and religious activity. Thing sites existed throughout the Viking world, with some still in existence today and in the case of Tynwald Hill, still in active use today. Tynwald Hill is the home of the longest, continuous parliament in the world.
To complement the exhibition on board the M/S Nybakk in Peel Harbour, which will be open to the public on Saturday 14th June from 10am to 2pm, Manx National Heritage are hosting a free public seminar exploring the connections between Viking Thing sites from 1:45pm at the House of Manannan, also on Saturday 14th June. Seminar speakers include Edmund Southworth – Director of Manx National Heritage, Anthea Young – Education Services Officer, Manx National Heritage, Andrew Johnson – Field Archaeologist, Manx National Heritage and Hans Haddal, Skipper, M/S Nybakk. The topics covered will range from Viking Legacy to an exploration of the Manx Thing site – Tynwald. The seminar is free but pre-booking is essential as places are limited. Those interested in attending can register at the House of Manannan or call (01624) 648090.
Following the seminar a presentation will take place at Tynwald Hill to the crew of the M/S Nybakk Venners by Tynwald President, Clare Christian at 6pm. Madam President will present gifts and pass on an official greeting to Gulating, Norway from the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man Ship Registry will also pass on gifts to the crew to mark the sea voyage.