The Viking Longhouse
The excavations in Unst gave the project an indication of what an original longhouse would have looked like, but it was clear that there was no standard single design, each being different in some way to the next. The recently completed reconstructed longhouse at Brookpoint has been built based on the excavated remains of the longhouse at Hamar, and using elements from other excavations too.
Shetland Amenity Trust's Architectural Heritage Team have worked on the reconstruction for three consecutive summer seasons. The timbers came from Dingwall on the Scottish mainland and have been individually hand cut so that each fits together perfectly. The craftsmen had to re-learn traditional Viking building techniques, cutting each joint so that the framework of the building is held together by the joints themselves, rather than nails. The outer skin of dry stone work was carried out by the the Trust's stonemasons, again using traditional skills and methods which have continued through into modern building and restoration.
The roof has been constructed from a wooden covering, with a membrane and birch bark applied to keep the interior of the house dry. This has been sealed with turf, which was donated from the tennis court at Buness House.
The methods of reconstructing of the longhouse have been recorded, providing an insight into traditional building techniques as well as archaeological fieldwork and interpretation.
The longhouse will remain as a legacy of the Viking Unst Project, alongside the Skidbladner, and will be used to stage events and Viking activity days, or weekends.