Jarlshof: The Ministry of Works


The prehistoric and Norse settlement of Jarlshof is at Sumburgh Head on Shetland. The Ministry of Works ‘Official Guide’ was prepared by J.R.C. Hamilton, and was published in 1953 (second impression 1956; price 1s 6d [= 7.5 p]). The guide is divided into separate sections:

  • The site (including ‘Discovery and excavation’)
  • History
  • Description
  • Table of periods and bibliography

There are 37 pages of text with a fold-out plan inside the rear cover.

The site was placed in guardianship in 1925, and one of its excavators was Professor V. Gordon Childe. Further excavations were conducted from 1949 to 1952, and these informed the present guide.

The guide includes a black and white reconstruction by Alan Sorrell which he had prepared for the Illustrated London News in 1949.

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent, and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History and an Academic Associate in SISJAC at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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