|This was my backyard for October.|
|We saw Shetland ponies|
|And peat bogs|
|And abandoned crofter's cottages.|
|And standing stones -- possibly from the Picts|
who inhabited the islands prior to the Vikings, but no one really knows
|And a replica of a Viking longboat that had been |
sailed from Bergen, Norway, to the Shetlands.
And Jarlshof, which is the most amazing archaeological site I've ever seen. Although the site on the southern tip of the mainland island had been occupied almost continuously for more than 4,500 years, nothing was known about the site except for the presence of the Laird's House (Lord's House) that was built in the 1500's until a storm in the late 1890's uncovered evidence of some extensive ruins dating from the first century A.D. Excavations soon revealed the presence of a Neolithic dwelling (2500 BC), a Bronze Age settlement (2000 to 800 BC), successive Iron Age settlements (1 BC), an Iron Age broch (tower) from the first centuries AD, wheelhouses from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, a Norse settlement from 800 - 1200 AD, a medieval farm from the 1200s, and the Laird's House that was built in 1580.
|The Neolithic dwelling with midden pit to the right |
and hearth (dark brown circle) to the left.
|Bronze age dwellings.|
|Wheel house - the walls were about 13 feet high and sloped inward|
to allow a thatch roof to be laid over the opening.
|Ruins of the Viking long house.|
Without a doubt, Jarlshof is one of the most stunning, amazing, evocative places I have ever been. It was bitterly cold and raining while we were there, but TK and I still spent over an hour walking around the ruins and exploring.
And then there was Shetland itself, which was beautiful and kept revealing a gorgeous vista with every turn in the road. I can't wait to go back, if you can't tell.
So now I am back and have been working on the novel. With any luck, I will be done with it by the end of July, and then I can relax a bit before starting on the next novel.