Treasure hunt brings Norse ancestry to life

Shetland is part of a new tourism campaign linking sites in Norway, Iceland, Faroe, the Northern Isles, Highland Scotland and the Isle of Man.

The Thing Sites GeoTour, launched this week, has been developed as part of the EU Northern Periphery Programme-funded Thing Project and was created with the assistance of the team at

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game played using a global positioning system or an app on a smartphone. Players seek hidden items by downloading coordinates from

The Thing Project has hidden geocaches at a number of locations throughout the North Atlantic.

Things, from the Old Norse þing, are the early assemblies found throughout northern Europe as a result of the shared Norse heritage. When the Vikings and early Norse settlers arrived in a new place they brought with them their customs and legal systems.

Thing sites were places where people came together to deliver justice and to trade. They are often described as the Viking cradle of democracy, and their legacy can still be seen throughout Scandinavia and beyond.

Shetland Amenity Trust placenames assistant Lauren Doughton said: “We’re really pleased to be launching this exciting new GeoTour. Geocaching is a fantastic way of encouraging people to get outside and explore their local area.

“For our Norse ancestors the thing sites would have been a central location within their landscape. Today the only indication we have that many of them existed is through place names. The GeoTour is a great way of bringing the historic links between these places to life, and making them accessible to people again.”


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