S1: Vikings at Jarlshof

The Vikings first came to Scotland as raiders and thieves, but later many groups came to trade, explore and settle. One Viking community was at Jarlshof in Shetland.

Useful links

Vikings (Danishnet) – excellent place to start your research

What was life like in Viking Britain – a very good place to start for farming and crafts.

Vikings (DK Find Out) – useful for trade, houses, crafts, ships and religion.

Vikings (BBC History) – good information on food

The Viking Age – a very detailed site from the National Museum of Denmark. Perfect to find out about food.

Ripe Viking Centre – a Viking living history village in Denmark


Pupils work in groups to investigate a day in the life of the Vikings who settled at Jarlshof in Shetland. Your will use your evidence to produce a group poster on the life of the community. Each person in the community is responsible for one quarter of the poster.


Lesson 1: Introduction
The class divides into groups of four. Watch the Jarlshof video and write down all the activities that took place in the village.

Each person in the team should choose a different activity that took place at Jarlshof in Viking times and find out more about it.

Lesson 2/3: research
Gather information using the internet, books and your jotter notes.

Lesson 3/4: poster and discussion
Work together to create an poster about the Vikings at Jarlshof. Pupils will report back to the class using their poster as notes.

Skills used in this investigation

  • Teamwork
  • Information literacy: using different sources; search skills: keywords, scanning, Ctrl + F; note taking.
  • Lateral thinking

Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes

People, past events and societies (SOC 3-01a)
I can use my knowledge of a historical period to interpret the evidence and present an informed view.