11 September 2011

Blighty's Oldest Boozer?

Discoveryon reports that a historic site in northern Scotland may have also served as an Iron Age hostelry. If so the this is the oldest ever found in Britain.

Experts believe that 4600 years ago, thirsty natives could enjoy a pint and a game of arrows at Jarlshof in Shetland.

And a dozen or so quernstones – for grinding barley – indicate it may have served as both a drinking den and a bakery.

Jarlshof is a remarkable site containing remains dating from 2500 BC up to the 17th century.

Shetland regional archaeologist Val Turner are in no doubt that – pub or not – there was beer being brewed at Jarlshof in the Iron Age. “We know communal feasting, and probably drinking, was a feature of Iron Age life. Providing lavish hospitality seems to have been an important means of establishing social status,”

Dr Noel Fojut, author of Prehistoric And Viking Shetland, siad, however: “It’s difficult, however, to distinguish an inn or pub – where people paid – from a communal dining/drinking house.It’s an attractive idea that there may have a welcoming ‘howff’ at Shetland’s southern landfall and perfectly possible. But it’s much more likely any hospitality would have been offered by a local family, rather than by a commercial landlord as we’d imagine one today,”

Ach it would be nice to think that 4,600 years ago a thirsty traveller could park up his coracle and partake of a pint of truly real ale in convivial company.

In a year or two I feat that archaeologists will find a police coracle complete with prehistoric breathalyzers....


CherryPie said...

A fascinating thought.

jams o donnell said...

It is isn't it!