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Jarlshof, broch & settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland South, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 59.8694 / 59°52'9"N

Longitude: -1.291 / 1°17'27"W

OS Eastings: 439804

OS Northings: 1109568

OS Grid: HU398095

Mapcode National: GBR R25N.74T

Mapcode Global: XHD4P.L6LB

Entry Name: Jarlshof, broch & settlement

Scheduled Date: 31 March 1928

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90174

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch; Secular: Viking settlement, Norse settlement

Location: Dunrossness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland South

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises the multi-period settlment site of Jarlshof. It is in the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland and is being re-scheduled to clarify the extent of the protected area.

The monument lies near the south tip of the Shetland mainland. It comprises the settlement of Jarlshof, best known for its Norse settlement remains but including structural remains from as early as the Neolithic period up until the 17th century AD. The earliest structure, at the E edge of the site, is sub-circular and fragmentary. When excavated, it was found to be associated with a midden containing hundreds of stone tools and pot-sherds from between 2500 BC and 1500 BC. Immediately to the SW of this structure is a cellular structure of Bronze Age date, which was used as a smithy at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. The pre-Norse Iron Age remains at Jarlshof occupy the SE and SW edges of the site. At the SE are the remains of a number of roundhouses, one of which overlies an earlier, Bronze Age structure. Two of these houses have souterrains attached. The SW edge of the site is dominated by the remains of a broch, which survives to a height of about 2.5m and is set within a courtyard. An aisled roundhouse, also within the courtyard, is probably of later date than the broch. The remains of four wheelhouses, which post-date the broch, are also found along the SW edge of the site.

The Norse settlement at Jarlshof occupies the north half of the site. The earliest phase of Norse settlement, around 850 AD, appears to have consisted of a single farmstead. After this initial phase, the settlement expanded and contracted over several centuries until the 13th century, when it was succeeded by a farmhouse and barn constructed immediately to the SE. The farmhouse was abandoned in the 16th century, when a laird's house was built immediately to the NE of the disused broch. The laird's house and its associated buildings had fallen into ruin by the end of the 17th century.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found. It is irregular with maximum dimensions of 182m from its northernmost point to its southernmost point and 160m from its easternmost point to its westernmost point, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The above-ground elements of the sales centre at the SE corner of the area proposed are specifically excluded from the scheduling. The area proposed for scheduling is identical to the area in state care.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


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Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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