Skara Brae

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Skara Brae (pronounced /ˈskɑrə ˈbreɪ/) is a large stone-built Neolithic settlement, located on the Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It consists of ten clustered houses, and was occupied from roughly 3180 BC2500 BC. It is Europe's most complete Neolithic village and because of its age (older than Stonehenge or the Great Pyramids) and the high level of preservation, it has gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status,[1] and has been called the "Scottish Pompeii".[2]

Contents

Discovery and early exploration

In the winter of 1850, a severe storm hit Britain causing widespread damage and over 200 deaths.[3] In the Bay of Skaill, the storm stripped the earth from a large irregular knoll, known in Scottish as a howe, which had been a local landmark.[3] When the storm cleared local villagers found in place of the howe an intact village, albeit without roofs.[3] For about the next 75 years there were no serious scientific investigations of Skara Brae.[3] In one weekend in 1913, the site was plundered by a party with shovels taking away an unknown quantity of artefacts.[3] In 1924 another storm swept away part of the one of the houses and it was determined the site should be made secure and more seriously investigated.[3] The job was given to University of Edinburgh professor Vere Gordon Childe. In mid-1927 Childe traveled to Skara Brae for the first time.[3]

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