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Jarlshof 1 Description of stone

Date 5 October 2016

Event ID 1014351

Category Descriptive Accounts



Jarlshof 1, Shetland, carved fragments

Measurements: a H 0.30m, W 0.54m, D 0.03m; b H 0.19m, W 0.19m, D 0.03m

Stone type: sandstone

Place of discovery: HU 3981 0955

Present location: National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh (HSA 782)

Evidence for discovery: found on the beach below the site.

Present condition: broken but carving is clear.


These two fragments clearly belong to the same stone but they cannot be directly fitted together. Parts of three sides survive, which are chamfered towards the back of the slab. Incised on the larger fragment is part of the curving body of a serpent, with a median line and scales within the inner band. At one end are two parallel curving lines across the body beyond the point at which the scales finish. There is also part of a curving design to one side of the serpent body. The smaller fragment bears part of the head and upper neck of the serpent, with an eye and a pointed ear and a meander line filling the neck. They may have been part of an architectural panel.

Date: late sixth or early seventh century.

References: Hamilton 1956, 189; Scott & Ritchie 2009, no 129; Graham-Campbell & Henderson 2018.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016.

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