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Skara Brae Neolithic settlement

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Comments (13)

Susan Casey, RCAHMS staff

A visit to Skara Brae as a child is probably partly responsible for my pursuit of archaeology as a career. The stone houses and furnishings make it possible to relate to its Neolithic inhabitants in a way that is not possible with more mysterious sites, like stone circles. This image, of a smiling Gordon Childe during the excavation of the village, appeals to me because it captures some of the excitement of working on such a site. His clean, shiny shoes, and the labourer in the edge of the shot, also say something about how the methods of archaeology have changed.

4th December, 4:39 pm

maia, SW UK

Skara Brae took my breath away. I have travelled the 1000 miles thrice to be sure. It allows you to really feel in touch with the families that lived there, the way they lived, their 1950's style domestic habits. There is even a dog or goat pen! I tell others about this place with awe. If ever there is proof of time travel this is it. I could see this TT woman in her pinny telling the original homesteaders "well boys, now I need a dresser - just there - and a bed for granny". "Fetch me a seal/sheep and we'll all have supper together by sundown". Ok sounds nuts - but some places speak to you if you know how to listen. Yes I do like to measure, photograph, read up on these sites - but this one speaks as well. So does the Tomb of the Sea Eagles. I LOVE the Orkneys.


29th November, 7:15 pm

Bruce Fletcher, Stronsay, Orkney

First visited Skara Brae in 1978 when on holiday in Stromness whilst living in Brora, Sutherland. Much quieter then - we had the place (and the gale-force winds) to ourselves.

Now retired and living in Stronsay, Orkney

19th November, 11:17 am

Treasured Places Editor

Only 3 weeks left to go until voting closes and the winner is announced. Please keep your votes and comments coming!

7th November, 8:03 pm

Edith Aitken, country - island

Grandfather original curator. Other family ties and a sort of play area when I was 'peedie" Although other sites will be identified in time as being even more notable it holds a strong fascination for me and makes me wonder if we've really moved on in life and community. Plus it's beside a beautiful beach, part of the cause of its destruction

30th October, 1:51 pm

Maureen Heddle, Aberdeen, Scotland

I've always felt a close association to Skara Brae as my great-grandfather was one of the labourer's who worked on the excavation of the site and my mother was born in a small cottage overlooking the site. I always go back there when i go back home to Orkney

29th October, 1:29 am

John WEIR, St. Arnaud,Victoria,Australia

Coming from a country which generally recognises only its history since white settlement, my visit to Skara Brae brought home to me the vast eons of time which have passed since Skara Brae was settled. It is just so ancient!

Should be the world's No. 1 archeological site.

27th October, 8:05 pm

LYN CROSS, glasgowL

I grow up in orkney, Skara brae is one of the best sites found throughtout the uk of this era. it never seizes to amaze me how the people of this time lived battling orkney weather conditions, making ends meat.

27th October, 12:30 pm

Judy Dowling, Fife

We should vote for this ancient and unique site, to draw as much attention as possible to the awful fact that it is in great danger of being eroded by the sea, and lost is truly Scots treasure, and should be protected for its priceless insight into the lives of our ancestors.

1st October, 2:46 pm

Irene Dahl, Hamilton .Scotland

Been to Skara Brae very interesting,and mystical...I saw all the sites in Orkney ,it is a beautiful place to visit , I had been there 3 times this year.

25th September, 9:23 am

Colin Keldie, Kirkwall, Orkney

Skara Brae is a truly remarkable glimps into the past and a reminder that we have inhabited this landscape for thousands of years. It is clear, when you look down into the houses, that life in Orkney 5,000 years ago was remarkably comfortable and the landscape provided every need for the communities living there.



Region: Orkney

This photograph, showing the archaeologist Vere Gordon Childe during the excavation of Skara Brae, was taken in 1930
Vere Gordon Childe Collection

Votes: 721


View more information from the RCAHMS database (Canmore) on Skara Brae Neolithic settlement