Shetland Day 3

by Stuart And Barbara Robertson May. 02, 2017 890 views


Yesterday we went to the very south end of the main island. The large promentory is Sumburgh Head, with a lighthouse on top

Nearby are the remains of antique dwellings, at Jarlshof. These original homes were dated from the Bronze Age 2000BC, the time of the Egyptian pryamids. Quiet simple in design, basically a circle of stone which would have had a dritwood roof and sod on top

The remains have been beautifully restored and displayed. This structure would have been the blacksmith's dwelling

Even some grind stones left in place

Subsequent homes became slightly more complex with alcoves either for sleeping or storage

Later still were bigger homes called Brochs, built from 500BC to 100 AD

These much larger homes had double walls for protection from the weather and enemies. Horizontal stones between the walls acted as stairs to upper levels and also to support the walls

Smaller wheelhouses were so named as the high walls resemble spokes of a wheel. A central hearth for heating the cooking. These houses must have been very dark when the roof was on top, but also quite warm

This gives you a scale for the size of this large wheelhouse

Later homes from the Norse era , about 850AD. The Norse were here for about 12 generations. They built long rectangular houses rather than circular homes as their predessors had

In medieval times, the Stewart family became the lairds of this area and built a large substantial house with barns and courtyard. For us it was a relief to stand behind the walls out of the cold wind off the North Sea

Nice to see down from a modern lookout atop the medieval house. A huge archaeological site beautifully presented

Across the courtyard to the Norse house

Leaving Jarlshof, we drove up to the Sumburgh Head lighthouse.  Now automated, it has an interesting museum and is an amazing place for watching birds.

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