Robin Hood and the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project

The ethos and aims of the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project:

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project has the tag-line "the future of Sherwood's Past" and aims to be a new community driven way of undertaking and supporting archaeological and historical research in the forest.

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology project is a Community Archaeology project- this means involving volunteers and the community in all aspects (where possible) of archaeological research and investigations.

The project is designed to bring sustainability to archaeological projects and investigations in Sherwood Forest by combining a number of funding streams including private, corporate, public and crowd-funding.

The project aims to undertake long-term research across the whole area of Sherwood Forest and beyond.

The project also seeks to be a free resource, where all research and fieldwork are available to the community at large, to foster a greater understanding of the heritage of Sherwood Forest.

The project aims to promote the notion of a wider Sherwood Forest that stretches across the multitude of sites that link together to make up this unique and exciting landscape.

The Project engages people from all walks of life and ages; including adults with learning difficulties, young people, as well as those currently out of work desiring transferable skills, students needing experience, and volunteers... in this landscape of legends and folklore... all overseen by professional community archaeologists.

The project aims to research the Sherwood Forest area from the prehistoric to the present day.

From prehistoric activity, Roman villas and field-systems, Saxon battles, and Viking meeting sites, through the medieval royal hunting forest with its woodland, wood-pasture, heathland, parks, palaces, and its villages and farmland, to the the post-medieval Dukeries estates, and 20th century military and coal mining legacy. From the kings and queens, Dukes and Duchesses, Earls and Countesses, to outlaws, common people, poets, playwrights, coal miners and soldiers and nurses who have left their mark on this landscape. And, from the ancient trees, ancient place-names, architecture and people that make up this world famous landscape today.

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project seeks to discover, record, and interpret the archaeology of the Forest as a whole, and to promote it through public involvement; to a local, regional, national and global audience, and therefore help to protect it and preserve it for future generations.

The project consists of many individual research topics across the Sherwood Forest area, and combines these into one overall long-term archaeological research project. Information from one project is linked to other projects, and all form part of a far larger whole.

This project is the first time Sherwood Forest as a whole has been subject to a landscape-scale archaeological research project, and it is already paying dividends in our understanding of the development of the landscape over time

Community Benefits:

The project aims to help communities to engage in their heritage, and is underpinned by a strong belief in the power of the narrative of that heritage; in bringing about social cohesion, and a sense of place and belonging.

The project also seeks to bring increased value to the landscape of the forest through a better understanding of the heritage of that landscape; through the direct involvement of the community in the research, and through the sharing of that new knowledge with the wider world.

The project seeks to bring investment into Sherwood Forest, directly to the project, but also through increased foot-fall, with visitors to projects and events spending money in the area at the various attractions and in local businesses.

Internet and social media output is designed to share knowledge but to also promote the landscape of the forest to a global audience, which we hope will result in all the benefits to the community brought about by a raising of its profile.

The project seeks to foster a wider appreciation of the heritage and landscape of Sherwood Forest in order to promote better management of the landscape and heritage, and also to encourage tourism.

The project believes in fostering connections between businesses and groups to create networks that are powerful and sustainable, which can bring about genuine change in the area.

and at the Facebook page : (around 5,000 followers).

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project is currently developing and funding many projects across the forest area including Clipstone Peel, St Edwin's Chapel, King John's Palace, Clipstone, Edwinstowe,Thynghowe, the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve and others.

The project has also undertaken many phases of work in Kings Clipstone and King John's Palace.

The project provides support to the work of community groups in Sherwood Forest by provide access to experts on the archaeology of the forest.

The project archaeologists can offer archaeological consultancy to groups.

The project also supports the work undertaken by groups in the forest and promotes this via websites and social media top  a global audience.

Archaeological Benefits:

The project aims to undertake long-term research across the whole area of Sherwood Forest and beyond.

The project and individual sub-projects are designed to follow and answer key regional and national research questions.

The project is designed to form part of a new Post-Roman ceramic type series for Nottinghamshire.

The project aims to employ archaeologists to undertake investigations to the highest possible standards and for the purposes of research- enabling employment where there was none.

The project puts research back at the fore-front of investigations. For too long archaeology has become simply a part of the planning process, preventing long term research strategies.

Undertaking projects based on research means that sites that have and will not be looked at in the planning system can receive the attention they deserve.

The project seeks to raise standards in archaeological investigations and recording and dissemination in the area.

All archaeological works are carried out to the standards and guidance of the Institute for Archaeologists.

The project offers training and work experience opportunities to archaeology students and post-graduates.

The project employs archaeological specialists from ceramics, environmental sciences, geologists, geophysicists, forensics, metalwork, bones (animal and human), and utilises academics and professionals to provide work for others in the industry and to provide the highest quality research.

All finished reports are submitted with the local authority Historic Environment Records office.

All reports are available for download from Mercian Archaeological Services CIC.

Oasis entries are made for all reports

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project Logo The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project

Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Community Archaeology Derbyshire, Community Archaeology Leicestershire, Community Archaeology East Midlands, Mercian Archaeological     Services Community Archaeology for Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Sherwood Forest,     Leicestershire and the East Midlands. Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Community     Archaeology East Midlands, Community Archaeology Leicestershire. Archaeological

Mercian Archaeological Services Community Archaeology in the East Midlands

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project

Project Study Area:

Sherwood Forest is located entirely within Nottinghamshire, a county located almost directly in the centre of England in the English East Midlands.

Map: Location of Nottinghamshire. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Source: _UK_locator_map_2010.svg

The project mainly focuses within the boundaries of Sherwood Forest from the early 12th century and 13th century Forest as shown in the map to the right.

The earliest boundary of Sherwood Forest in the records come from 1156 but refers to the boundaries of the forest in circa 1100.

This area includes all of that highlighted in mid-green colour and labelled as ealry 12th century on the map opposite (inluding the area marked as 13th century).

This area includes all of the Sherwood Sandstone formation and includes the whole of the Hatfield division of the ancient Wapentake of Bassetlaw (see Battle of Hatfield for more details).

During the time of Henry II  (1154-1189), Richard I (1189-1199) and John (1199-1216) the  area of Forest law was expanded to cover all of Nottinghamshire north and west of the Trent (marked in light-green on the map- and including the early 12th and 13th century boundaries).

Following magna Carta (1215) and the subsequent Forest Charter (1217) the area of Forest in Nottinghamshire was reduced to that shown in dark-green on the map.

The first perambulation defining the boundary of the Forest was in 1218 and subsequent perambulations through the 13th century resulted in the 13th century boundary as depicted on the ma, confirmed by Edward I in the year 1300.

Map: Boundaries of Sherwood Forest
© Mercian Archaeological Services CIC, 2018.

The oldest documented mention of a 'Sherwood Forest' comes from a charter dating from 958AD granting Scrooby and Sutton cum Lound in north Nottinghamshire from the Crown to the Archbishop of York. This charter lists a 'Scirwuda' (Shire Wood) as a boundary mark of the land granted to the Archbishop.

Scirwuda was on the western edge of the these landholdings  adjacent to Barnby Moor on the edge of the Sherwood Sandtstones.

This places Scirwuda  as mentioned in 958 in the location of the boundary from the early 12th century and could support this not only being the original boundary of Sherwood Forest, but could also suggest there was a Sherwood Forest or ‘Shire Wood’ in this vicinity in Saxon times.

Scrooby was later the home of William Brewster and is one of the sites associated with the Mayflower Pilgrims. The Archbishop of York built a residence there in medieval times which was used by the separatists in the early 17th century.

Award Winners 2016

for "Engaging people in the heritage, history & archaeology of Sherwood Forest".

Young Archaeology Club Sherwood Forest Trust Magna Carta Sherwood Forest

Some funders and partners:

World-wide Robin Hood Society

Robin Hood Society Feather in Your Cap Award 2016 Heritage Lottery Fund Archaeology Thynghowe Vikings Sherwood Forest Discover King John's Palace free excavation Robin Hood Town Tours
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The Future of Sherwood’s Past


Project page links:


 Project Home page


About the Project






Research Aims


 Working with Specialists


Social Media - Follow us


The Sherwood Forest
National Nature Reserve Archaeology Survey


Long term Research at 
King John’s Palace:
Ancient Royal Heart of Sherwood Forest


The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Training Fieldschool


“Scirwuda- Mapping the Greenwood”: Place-names,
Ghost and Shadow woods of Sherwood Forest Project


Investigating Thynghowe Viking
Meeting Site


Searching for the 
The Battle of Hatfield


Edwinstowe Church Survey


 Fieldswork at St Edwin’s Chapel


St Mary’s Norton- Cuckney Church Survey


 Mapping Medieval Sherwood Forest


The Sherwood Forest LiDAR


Warsop Old Hall
Archaeological Project


The Sherwood Villages Project:
Settlement Development in the Forest


Sherwood Heath Survey


 Clipstone Village Dig


Researching Edward IIs fortification at Clipstone Peel


Ransom Wood Survey


Thoresby Estate Survey


 Robin Hood’s Village Dig


The Cistercians of Rufford Project:
Settlement Development, Dynamics and Desertion.


Sherwood Forest Environmental Survey


World War II in Sherwood Forest - Mapping the camps, munitions and more


World War I in Sherwood Forest - Mapping the camps, munitions and more


About Medieval Sherwood Forest


Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest


 Outlaws & Villains


 Historical Research


 Stories from the Forest


Book Reviews




 Funding the Project


 Project Partners


 Project Sponsors


 Robin Hood Challenges


Outreach Bus Tours


 Links page


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