London: A historic site in northern Scotland may have served as an Iron Age boozer - the oldest to be ever found in Britain, researchers say.
Experts believe that 4600 years ago, thirsty natives enjoyed a pie and pint at Jarlshof in Shetland near Sumburgh Head.
And a dozen or so quernstones - for grinding barley - indicate it may have served as both a drinking den and a bakery.
Jarlshof, described as “one of the most remarkable archaeological sites ever excavated in the British Isles” was first revealed after a storm in 1890.
It contains remains dating from 2500 BC up to the 17th century.
Experts including 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,” the Daily Record quoted Dr Noel Fojut, author of Prehistoric And Viking Shetland, as saying.
“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,” he added.