Jarlshof Archaeological Site in Shetland, Scotland
Sadly we probably won’t make a break for this island about 450 kms North of Edinburgh, Scotland, when we do our Scottish trip in spring 2016 and our Norse trip later that fall. Wikipedia states Jarlshof is the best known prehistoric archaeological site in Shetland, Scotland. It lies near the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland and has been described as “one of the most remarkable archaeological sites ever excavated in the British Isles”. It contains remains dating from 2500 BC up to the 17th century AD.
It makes a ton of sense that there Pictish and Norse remains considering it’s location in the North Sea, but what amazes me is that there are remains from the Neolithic period, a site nearby has been dated to 3200 BC! How the hell did humans get to places like this 5000 years ago?
Like many places surrounding the North Sea, it has strong Viking roots. The proper name for the site is Sumburgh, derived from the Old Norse borg, ‘fort’. It went from Norway back to Scotland in 1469, and in 1906 (when Norway became independent) Shetland authorities sent a letter to King Haakon VII saying “Today no ‘foreign’ flag is more familiar or more welcome in our voes and havens than that of Norway, and Shetlanders continue to look upon Norway as their mother-land, and recall with pride and affection the time when their forefathers were under the rule of the Kings of Norway.”