To the Ancient Scotland Introduction...

The Neolithic Village at Skara Brae

All pictures copyright © 1995,1998,2000 Martin McCarthy

pics/thumb/skara1.jpg The stone dresser and hearth in House 7 are pictured here.
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pics/thumb/skara-1298-1.jpg This house has a unique structure amongst the houses of Skara Brae - the walls are thicker as it was free standing, and there is no hearth, no dresser, no beds, no boxes. It is believed that this was a workshop where stone tools were made.
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pics/thumb/skara-1298-2.jpg House 1 - at the far end, beyond the hearth, is a box bed.
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pics/thumb/skara-1298-3.jpg The main passageway running through the centre of the village.
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pics/thumb/skara-1298-5.jpg Looking west over the village to the Bay of Skaill.
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pics/thumb/skara-1298-6.jpg House 5 - at left and right are box beds; ahead is the remains of a dresser in front of a "hidden" cell.
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pics/thumb/skara-1298-7.jpg House 9 - one of the earlier houses
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pics/thumb/skara-1298-8.jpg House 1 - dresser to the left, beds below and ahead. Storage space above the far bed can be easily seen. In the right wall is the low entrance.
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pics/thumb/skara-1298-9.jpg House 1 - around the dresser are three tanks for preparing fish bait.
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pics/thumb/skara-1298-10.jpg House 1 - looking towards the entrance.
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pics/thumb/skarabr1.jpg The stone dresser in House 1
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pics/thumb/skarabr2.jpg Looking across structure 8
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pics/thumb/skarabr3.jpg Looking across the village and west over Skaill Bay.
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The neolithic village of Skara Brae lies on the shore of the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Orkney's Mainland.

Stunningly preserved structures containing stone furniture (dressers, beds, cupboards) dating back to 3200BC can be seen here.

One of the resources that is lacking in Orkney is wood---there are almost no trees on the islands. As a result, other construction materials must be used. It comes as no great surprise to see the stone houses, but much of the furniture is still intact and there are stone beds and stone dressers against the house walls.

There is evidence of habitation before the construction of the first stone houses which are still visible, as well as evidence that some houses were dismantled and others built during the course of the occupation of the village.

Skara Brae was rediscovered after a storm around 1850 dislodged much of the coastline in Skaill Bay. More remains may have disappeared into the sea. V.G.Childe began excavations of the site in 1927 and uncovered seven houses.

The village was originally set some way back from the sea and was occupied by people who were farmers and who also hunted and fished.

Pots and bone pins, necklace beads and carved stone balls and containers holding red ochre were all found on the site.