SETTLEMENT CHANGE ACROSS MEDIEVAL EUROPE OLD PARADIGMS AND NEW VISTAS. 2019, 185-194
Large cooking-pit sites in Norway are discussed as a source to the thing-system in the Early Iron Age. The sites represent traces of large-scale gatherings associated with judicial activities, amongst others, and extend as far back as the pre-Roman Iron Age. It is argued that these sites might be the remains of judicial assemblies, in Old Norse called things. The sites might also be seen in light of the assemblies (concilium) and the warrior bands (centena) described by Tacitus in AD 98. Within a few hundred years after the Scandinavian societies encountered the Romans, changes in the social, economic, and political structures can be seen. After c. AD 200, the higher strata in society conducted large-scale restructurings of the landscape to increase surplus production. The ability to do this must have required active leadership and necessitated regular meetings. The cooking-pit sites might have been important in this respect and may also explain why the sites experienced increased usage between AD 200‑400. Around the 7th century however, there was a decline in the use of the cooking-pit sites. While some sites show evidence of continued use as thing sites, others fell completely out of use.