Jarlshof is a multi-period settlement complex that was in use from the bronze age until the 19th century -- over 3,500 years of virtually continuous occupation.
The oldest remains, to the east of the site date back to the Bronze Age and early Iron Age periods. These houses are smaller than the houses at Skara Brae in Orkney, but they show a similar layout. Some of the houses were linked with souterrains (earthhouses) and one of these oldest buildings was used by a bronzesmith around 800 B.C. Of particular interest are the Iron Age buildings to the south of the site. Although in part eroded by the sea, they represent a longer period of continuous settlement and the development from the brochs to the wheelhouses, circular stone-built houses represent a type of dwelling, in which radial piers not only divided up the internal floorspace of the houses into storage and sleeping areas but also helped to support the roof. This distinctive type of dwelling was built only in Shetland and the Western Isles.
The biggest part of Jarlshof is covered by a Viking settlement,which was used for a long time if not for the whole Viking period.
About the Jarlshof Settlement
Megalithic Portal: Jarlshof
Journey to the Jarlshof Settlement
The Jarlshof Settlement lies near the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland, close to the settlements of Sumburgh and Grutness and to the south end of Sumburgh Airport off the A970. The site overlooks an arm of the sea called the West Voe of Sumburgh.
The Modern Antiquarian: Jarlshof
Stone Pages: Jarlshof
Undiscovered Scotland: Jarlshof
Ordnance Survey Map (HU3959409443)
Visitors information for the Jarlshof Settlement may be found at the Historic Scotland website. General information on Shetland may be found at the Visit Shetland website.
Photos of the Jarlshof Settlement
Road Sign for Jarlshof Settlement
Descriptive Sign at Jarlshof Settlement
Earliest Houses Descriptive Sign at Jarlshof Settlement
Remains of Earliest Houses at Jarlshof Settlement
Bronze Age Smithy Descriptive Sign at Jarlshof Settlement
Bronze Age Smithy Area at Jarlshof Settlement
Best Preserved Iron Age Dwelling at Jarlshof Settlement
Iron Age Dwelling and Souterrain Entrance (right) at Jarlshof Settlement
Iron Age Trough Quern and Midden at Jarlshof Settlement
Iron Age Trough Querns at Jarlshof Settlement
Iron Age Broch Descriptive Sign at Jarlshof Settlement
Remains of Iron Age Broch Walls at Jarlshof Settlement
Iron Age Aisled Roundhouse at Jarlshof Settlement
Wheelhouse Descriptive Sign at Jarlshof Settlement
Entrance to Wheelhouse at Jarlshof Settlement
Inside Wheelhouse at Jarlshof Settlement
The Later Entrance to the Wheelhouse at Jarlshof Settlement
Rear of Wheelhouse at Jarlshof Settlement
Norse Settlement Descriptive Sign at Jarlshof Settlement
Norse Settlement Dwelling at Jarlshof Settlement
Norse Settlement Byre Entrance at Jarlshof Settlement