Police searching for vandals who scrawled graffiti at the site of the ancient Skara Brae settlement are now looking for a 35-year-old man.
The man, who might speak with a Liverpudlian accent, is said to be 5ft 6 in, of medium build with fair hair... continues...
Vandals have daubed graffiti on one of Scotland's most historic sites in Orkney.
Staff at Skara Brae arrived at work on Tuesday to find graffiti scribbled on the walls of the Neolithic village... continues...
An investigation has been launched into concerns that increased visitor numbers may be damaging the Stone Age village of Skara Brae on Orkney.
The heritage agency, Historic Scotland, has brought in state-of-the-art technology to determine whether stones are moving or developing cracks. Read full article
Heritage Body May Have to Slash Visitor Numbers to Skara Brae
By Ian Johnston of the Scotsman:
The number of visitors to Skara Brae on Orkney - one of the world's leading Stone Age attractions - may have to be cut amid fears they are damaging the monument, Historic Scotland has admitted... continues...
For a change we all visited this very important site.
I had been nagging Karen for a long time that she simply ‘must’ see Skara Brae.
I think the fact there was a visitor centre with shop and café helped!
(Although these facts did little for my bank balance!)
It goes without say that this is a definite ‘must see’ when visiting Orkney.
I had read so much about it, seen so many photos and heard so much about Skara Brae that it was quite surreal actually being here.
We parked in the large car park (several coaches already here) and walked up to the visitor centre.
As members of CADW we had free entry although I did buy the guide book – something I do at all the places I visit. We first went to watch the film show which I thought was a bit naff and then went outside to see the reconstructed house you can walk around. I thought this was very well done and certainly gives a good idea of how it must have been to live at Skara Brae all those years ago.
We then headed over to the real houses. Luckily the rain had now stopped but it was very windy. The stones you pass giving a time-line for the settlement is a nice touch.
There were a number of people milling around and all were being watched by a member of staff to make sure no-one went inside the houses – although there would be no-one to stop you if you visited after closing time!
I won’t bother to describe the houses as this has been done many times before and I am sure everyone knows what they look like!
All I would reiterate is that the site IS a lot smaller than it looks in photos / on TV.
I originally planned to have a paddle in Skaill Bay but given the weather I chickened out!
I feel like a bit of an old grump saying this but Skara Brae left me feeling a bit disappointed. My favourite part of it was the re-constructed house, which has been built with care and attention and you are allowed to go in and have a wee play.....but the site itself? I think I have just read too many books and seen too many programmes about it but it just didn't have the expected "wow" feeling. I know that Jane and Hob both suggested going after hours, which would probably have helped, but the officious little signs everywhere and the HS woman having a hissy fit because one of us dared to lean over a bit of grass (grass, for gawd's sake!) to get a photo just felt really rubbish. I only hung around for a few minutes then headed back up to the visitor centre to read a bit of George Mackay Brown and have a cuppa. Isn't that awful? This is such an amazing site that I should have been awestruck but I was more impressed with Barnhouse – it isn't the site itself but the way it is managed and I think I probably expected too much. I have since told myself off for being such a grumpy bugger and wish I had been a bit more interested in it all but it just didn't grab me on the day. Bah - and indeed - humbug.
Would you believe such a thing as Skara Brae existed if it wasn't here before you? I mean, 'flushing toilets', damp-course for the walls, and - best of all - a mighty mantelpiece for the women to place their best ornaments and whatnot on, so as to impress the neighbours over for tea. (sorry if that sounds sexist...) It's just so, well..... civilised... so like 21st century us. Are we really that different?
I was taught that it was the Romans who brought these things to 'barbarian' Britain. Seeing as they only gave up human sacrifice when forced to by 'barbarians', me-thinks history was written by the victors to suit their own ends. Wouldn't be the first time, would it?
Shame the traveller can't actually enter the dwellings, but fully understand why. What a place! Even the usually dreaded 'visitor centre' was good.
Hob and Jacqui hadn't been here and were going home next day. They didn't have a car with them. We did. It was past 6.30 and it would probably be closed. But we went just on the off-chance. We got lucky AGAIN.
Avoid the commercialism. If you're not bothered about buying postcards and want to have the place to yourself, do as we did and go after the visitor centre is closed at 6.30. Park in the empty car park. Walk round the side of the visitor centre towards the beach on the deserted grassy path. Follow the 'time line'. Pay no fee. The four of us had the place to wander through, consider and be amazed at without coach parties or tour guides; the time to stare and wonder and think and imagine. Moth and I returned next day at the same time and with guide book in hand made our own tour.
Skara Brae was first place on Orkney where I got a real sense of the LIFE (rather than the death) of neolithic Orcadians. It was easy to imagine people living here: hear the low rumble of their voices, smell their dinner cooking, bump your head on the fish drying on racks over the fire, feel the smoke stinging your eyes, smell the damp sheepskins, hear a child crying for her mum from the warmth of her little stone slatted bedstead...
The people who lived here were no different from us. Their dreams and aspirations were precisely the same as ours: to feed, raise and love our families as comfortably as possible. You can be very close to them here.
Visited August 1997: I was impressed by Skara Brae, but I still can't help comparing it to the Knap of Howar on Papa Westray. Skara Brae is definitely more complex, better preserved, bigger and more accessible than the Knap of Howar, but it's also blighted by lots of tourists and (albeit on a small scale) the dreaded visitor's centre syndrome.
You are directed around a specific route at Skara Brae. This doesn't take you into any of the houses, so you are always looking down into them (a bit artificial given that there was a roof there once). At the Knap of Howar you can walk into the houses and take a seat. The Knap of Howar is the oldest known inhabited structure in northern Europe, and you can have a picnic in it, while at Skara Brae you get to see some bits through protective glass (I can see that this is necessary, but it still spoils things a bit).
I'm glad we went to Skara Brae, because it is something very special. Worth it if only for the Maes Howe T-shirt I bought in the shop (just kidding).
Skara Brae, Orkney Mainland
The next stop after the Ring of Brodgar was Skara Brae. Of all the places we explored today this was Kats fav. I thought it was v good too- nice wee hooses! I wondered why the Ring of Brodgar was so quiet today- that's cos all the folk were here- busy busy busy! Still- didn't spoil it at all. The interior of the houses are amazing- stone dressers, stone cupboards, stone boxes, stone beds- it doesn't seem like they slummed it here! What was also cool was being able to walk through the houses and through the low corridors connecting the various living quarters. There's also a small hut with an exhibition in it displaying many of the finds from the site which is cool- better than being stuck in some dusty old museum hundreds of miles away.
I visited this amazing place on a bitter January day last year and was surprised but pleased to be the only visitor.
I had been inspired to visit by an enthusiatic Icelandic history teacher many years before, but, being prone to sea sickness, had never quite mustered up the courage to take the ferry from the mainland. Having finally made it, I can only say "you must visit this place!" It's an awe inspiring glimpse at what our ancestors were capable of and it shattered many illusions I had held about my pre-Common Era predecessors being "primitive".
When I compare the architecture of Skara Brae, which has withstood thousands of years of fearsome Orkney weather with the modern cement and plastic skyrises that purportedly represent the pinnacle of our city dwelling civilisation, I can only laugh. In two hundred years, these modern day megaliths will be crumbling and close to collapse (if they haven't met the wrecking ball already). The builders and craftsmen of ancient Orkney really knew how to make their work last. You only need look at the perfectly hewn, carefully fitted stone masonry to see it. Not only that, but they knew how to landscape their homes to compliment the intense natural beauty which surrounded them. Form and function working together, six thousand years before the concept was invented!
The site is well thought out and constructed, allowing the visitor to get really close to the warren like village and to get a real feel of what it was like to live there.
Afterwards, I recommend a walk along the headland to Yesnaby cliffs to get a feel for the incredible natural architecture and geology of the area.
Living in China now, my friends are always boasting of their six thousand year old civilisation. After visiting Skara Brae, I can confidently make the same claim.
In his eighth Munro lecture Gordon Childe "discussed the so-called inscription found on the edge of the bed in hut 7, but despite the presence of a burial under the bed, he now doubted whether it was really epigraphic."