Skara Brae Prehistoric Site, Orkney

Skara Brae Prehistoric Site, Orkney, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on Skara Brae, one of Britain’s best prehistoric sites which has achieved World Heritage status.

This village was occupied for about 600 years (3100BC to 2500BC) , a period which spanned two distinct phases of occupation with most of that which is currently visible representing the final phase which was built over the levelled earlier site.

The site was originally exposed by the very forces which continue to threaten it today; a wild storm and coastal erosion.Images at top and foot of this post illustrate the threat from the sea. Back in the settlement’s Neolithic prime it is believed there was a considerable buffer of land between the village and the coast virtually all of which has now been eroded, a process which may have already destroyed other parts of the site.

It is believed that Skara Brae was a self-sufficient community which eventually dispersed when the people reverted to more single family type homesteads under a regional identity. However, this is one theory. The archaeology does suggest that, when occupied, the Skara Brae site was home to a remarkably successful and stable small community which lasted for some 600 years.

Looking down  through what may have been turf roofs, we can identify a range of basic furnture with which we can identify today, albeit made from stone. In particular there are beds and dressers. The passage ways would also have been roofed and afforded protection from the persistent Orkney wind.

The site was preserved over the millennia due to a combination of robust construction (in an organic refuse tip) and filling up with sand after abandonment.

In common with other prehistoric sites, Skara Brae is of great fascination to me and I look forward to returning in due course.

Skara Brae Prehistoric Site, Orkney

Skara Brae Prehistoric Site, Orkney, Scotland

Skara Brae Prehistoric Site, Orkney

Skara Brae Prehistoric Site, Orkney, Scotland

Skara Brae Prehistoric Site, Orkney

Skara Brae Prehistoric Site, Orkney, Scotland

Eroding Coastline at Skara Brae

Eroding Coastline at Skara Brae, Orkney

Elsewhere today, I have completed itineraries for two upcoming tours with two more on the agenda tomorrow.

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