Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement on the island of Shetland, Scotland, the prehistoric archaeological site known as Jarlshof is considered to be the most famous of its kind. It is known as one of the most important archaeological sites that has ever been discovered in the British Isles, and it can be found in Sumburgh, which is situated on Mainland in Shetland. It contains artefacts from as early as 2500 BC and as late as the 17th century AD. Items recovered during excavations are shown in the museum, which also features a map of the entire Jarlshof site. Shetland was taken from Norway and given to Scotland in 1469. It was then placed under the authority of Earl Robert Stewart, who was the illegitimate son of King James V. Earl Robert Stewart's son, Earl Patrick (also known as "Black Patie"), built the Old House of Sumburgh, which is still in existence today. His reign of terror over the inhabitants of Orkney and Shetland earned him a terrible reputation.
In his book, "The Pirate," Sir Walter Scott refers to the location as the "Jarlshof," which literally translates to "earl's dwelling." The proper name of the settlement is Sumburgh, which comes from the Old Norse word borg, which can be translated as "fort." Earl Robert Stewart was responsible for the commissioning of the building of the New Hall in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century, a new Laird's House was constructed, and the old one was converted into kitchens. The old house and barn, which date back to the 13th to 16th centuries, have only a portion of their original structures survived. The trip from Lerwick to Jarlshof is only 20 miles long, yet it allows travellers to see many different parts of Shetland.
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- Jarlshof Geolocation Latitude 60.5297° N Longitude -1.2659° W
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Jarlshof, at the southern tip of Shetland, close to Sumburgh and its airport, is recognized as one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Britain. with the remains of three extensive village settlements occupied from Bronze Age to Viking times, like other precious relics on the islands it is cared for.
Many of the Scottish lairds who had invaded Shetland built town houses to escape from the same winds round their places in the exposed countryside. Nothing remains of the original ﬁshing village, but, while the solid old houses may have little notable architectural distinction, they have an attractiveness of their own from their very solidity.
Now, of course, Lerwick has spread out into suburbs, and with its new prosperity and need for housing mainly due to Oil and all its ramiﬁcations loom large in Lerwick‘s present and future, but the ﬁshing industry is still the backbone of the economy. active and very important, with it's fleet of foreign vessels using the port for landing and marketing their ﬁsh, and Shetland is well equipped with ﬁsh processing plants.
Unusually, Lerwick has an attraction for the midwinter dark days visitor in the ‘Up-Helly-Aa' festival held on the last Tuesday of January. A modern evocation of Shetland's ancient Norse
past when a 30 ft longship, gaily painted, is paraded through the town in a procession of 800 torch-bearing guizers and ceremonially burned as the signal for a night long revelry welcoming the strengthening sun which will soon burgeon into the beneﬁcence of the “simmer dim”.
Jarshof some 25 miles from Lerwick and set on the seashore not far from one of the more recent constructions, Sumburgh airport, is the prehistoric site of Jarlshof, Here the sequence of occupation is clearly distinguished and covers a span of over 3 thousand years from the mid-2nd millennium BC to the 17C.
Only fragments remain of the earliest settlers' village, contemporary with Skara Brae on the landward side of the site. Bronze Age. - Dating from this period are six oval shaped houses with cubicles built into the walls Dwelling.
The broch itself is equipped with a well. The plan is confused by post-broch dwellings the wheelhouses in and outside the main structure is the most completely preserved example of a wheelhouse or circular hut.
The remains include numerous long houses the layout of which is complex reflecting various centuries of occupation.
Top Attractions In And Around Jarlshof
Jarlshof is a remarkable archaeological site in Shetland that spans over 4,000 years of human history. Here are the top attractions in and around Jarlshof:
- Prehistoric Settlement: Explore the interconnected settlements dating back to the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Pictish, Norse, and Medieval periods. The site showcases the evolution of human habitation in Shetland.
- Wheelhouses: These unique stone structures, resembling a wheel's spokes, are a highlight of the site, providing insights into Iron Age living.
- Broch: Discover the remains of a round tower that served as a fortified dwelling, typical of the Iron Age.
- Viking Longhouse: Explore the well-preserved Norse longhouse, showcasing Viking-era architecture and lifestyle.
- Medieval Farmstead: Witness the ruins of a farm and buildings from the Middle Ages, displaying changes in construction and lifestyle over time.
- Sumburgh Head: A short distance away, visit the nature reserve with its stunning cliffs, seabird colonies, and the iconic lighthouse.
- Scenic Coastal Views: Enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline and the North Sea from the Jarlshof site itself.
- Shetland's Natural Beauty: Embrace the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, including beaches, rolling hills, and dramatic cliffs, offering fantastic photo opportunities.
Tips for Visitors:
- Guided Tours: Consider joining a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the historical significance and stories behind the Jarlshof site.
- Visitor Center: Explore the visitor center to understand the site's history, artifacts, and the context of the different periods represented at Jarlshof.
Jarlshof stands as a testament to the long history and diverse cultures that have shaped Shetland. Its rich archaeological remains offer visitors a glimpse into the lives of various peoples who once inhabited these lands.