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Skara Brae

Listed under Archaeological Sites in Scotland, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of Skara Brae
  • Photo of Skara Brae
  • Photo of Skara Brae
  • Photo of Skara Brae
  • Photo of Skara Brae
  • Photo of Skara Brae
Photo of Skara Brae
Photo by flickr user jessie-z
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The ruins of Europe's most complete Neolithic village, Skara Brae, were uncovered from beneath by a mound during a ferocious Orkney storm in 1850. Four ancient houses were excavated in 1868, but the other four houses in the settlement remained covered until 1928.

Initially it was thought to be an Iron Age settlement, but carbon dating showed it was inhabited between 3200 and 2200BC.

The dwellings were protected by the sand of the mound which preserved the buildings and their interior fittings giving archaeologists an excellent indication of life during Neolithic times. Houses were sunken into the ground to protect against the weather and contained stone furniture and a sophisticated drainage system. Traces of bone show that Skara Brae's inhabitants grew cereal and kept sheep and cattle.

Written by  Lindsay Drury.

Other expert and press reviews

“Heart of Neolithic Orkney”

'The group of Neolithic monuments on Orkney consists of a large chambered tomb (Maes Howe), two ceremonial stone circles (the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar) and a settlement (Skara Brae), together with a number of unexcavated burial, ceremo… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

“Ten of the best UK & Ireland standing stones”

By: Rupert Soskin for First published: 3 April 2009 The majority of ancient sites are mysterious because we're never exactly sure how they were used, or by how many individuals. But on Mainland, Orkney, at the prehistoric village of Skar… Read more...

Written by press. Continue reading on

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