Things and Boundaries in Gildeskål

This piece contemplates the placing of Thing sites during the Late Iron Age (600–1050 AD) and Middle Ages (AD 1050–1537) in the humble municipality of Gildeskål in Northern Norway. The three sites discussed include the vicarage Gildeskål (skoal of the guild), a place with the conspicuous name Tingvollen (the Thing mound) close to a natural harbour, and a possible chieftain’s seat at Arnøyene in the outer reaches of the parish. With few archaeological and historical sources in the area, the Thing sites are discussed in light of place-names and topography. It seems that quiet and sandy harbors in «neutral» areas stand out as a common feature for some Thing sites in Northern Norway.

A closer look is given to a secular, administrative border dating from at least 1521 up to 1816 between Gildeskål and Meløy municipalities in the regions Salten and Helgeland respectively. This article argues that the area between this border and the more recent parish border may have constituted an administrative unit called Brudanger in the Iron Age. The magnate farm of Øysund in Meløy was probably called Brudanger in the Iron Age, thus giving name to the unit. With this understanding, Tingvollen falls under this ‘new’ administrative area, forcing us to re-evaluate the possible Thing sites in what remains of Gildeskål.