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Archeological Sites of Orkney Scotland -Skara Brae

Updated on June 19, 2013

Village of Skara Brae

Today on my wee adventure I'll be learning about the Neolithic village of "Skara Brae"; considered by many to be one of the most incredible monuments in Europe. It is located on the Southern shore of the Bay O'Skaill in the West Mainland parish of Sandwick. The village was discovered where a mound by the name of "Skerrabra" used to be which covered the buried village of "Skara Brae" until a bad storm in 1850 caused the revealing of the outlines of a number of stone buildings.

Sea Wall Built

William Watt the laird of Skaill was intrigued by this discovery so much so that he began to excavate the site further. There was four stone houses revealed but in 1868 the work on the site stopped. But in 1925 another bad storm hit this area which ended up damaging some of the buildings that had been excavated. It was then decided that a sea wall would be built to help to preserve and protect the remaining buildings. It was during this construction that yet more ancient buildings were discovered. There was eight buildings all connected together by covered passages. They were very well preserved by the sand they had been buried in. Because of this we were able to have a glimpse at how the Neolithic people lived. Each of the houses are the same basic design which consists of a square room with a fire place or hearth in the middle of room, beds on either side and a walled dresser across from doorway.

Ancient Village Buried in Sand

The sand that preserved it was probably the reason that the village was abandoned due to the sand dune coming closer and eventually burying the village. Here it stayed buried for over 40 centuries until that storm in 1850 revealed this hidden piece of history. The dwellings in this village had been used for over 600 years. They were large dwellings for this era, the roofs were thought to be made of some organic material as there was no evidence of them left. It is thought that materials that might have been used were such things as whale bones, seaweed, straw etc.

House Seven

The most interesting building of the collection is a building called "House Seven". This is the largest and the oldest of the buildings it is also the only one built right on sand. The other houses or buildings were all built on top of other dwellings. The real strange thing about this building is it is the only one that locks from the outside. This leads us to believe that who or what ever was kept in that building was locked in keeping it separate from the rest of the village. Some believe it was a building for special rituals to be performed, child birthing or that it was the village jail.


I guess we will never truly know for sure what "House Seven" was used for but this will not stop us from trying to unlock this mystery. Well I hope you enjoyed reading this hub about "Skara Brae".


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      Veronica 5 years ago

      Hi Pam very informative it is nice to see one interested in their homeland

      keep up the good work.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hiya homey: These have features on BBC docs of's stunning how old they are and how people lived quite comfortably back then.

      Well done


    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You have accomplished an excellent follow up and I really enjoyed reading such informative work. An educational Hub, voted up!