Scheduled Monument

Jarlshof, broch & settlementSM90174

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Prehistoric domestic and defensive: broch; hut circle, roundhouse; settlement (if not assigned to any more specific type); souterrain, earth-house, Secular: Viking settlement, Norse settlement; farmstead
Local Authority
Shetland Islands
HU 39804 9568
439804, 1109568


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.



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About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

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Printed: 25/06/2022 14:17