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Skara Brae

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork

<b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by OapostropheBrienImage © John O'Brien
Also known as:
  • Skea Brae
  • Skerrabrae
  • Skaro

Nearest Town:Stromness (10km SSE)
OS Ref (GB):   HY229187 / Sheet: 6
Latitude:59° 2' 54.78" N
Longitude:   3° 20' 38.63" W

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Skara Brae women archaeologists who were written out of history

An "excavation" on social media has provided names for four women shown in pictures of a dig in Orkney.

More Info :
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd March 2019ce

Rodents Eaten By Neolithic Orcadians, Research Suggests
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
19th October 2016ce
Edited 19th October 2016ce

Orkney's Skara Brae Rated As A 'Must See'

The famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae has been voted as one of the UK's 'must see' attractions.

More info :
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
14th February 2012ce
Edited 14th February 2012ce

Skara Brae Sea Wall Set For Work.

Work to strengthen the foundations of the sea wall near the famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae in Orkney is about to begin.

Waves have affected a section of concrete on which the protective walling was built, which could lead to more damage... continues...
The Eternal Posted by The Eternal
21st January 2009ce

Skara Brae site graffiti removed

Experts have successfully removed all traces of graffiti which had been daubed onto the ancient Skara Brae settlement on Orkney.

Poultices made up of a solvent and paper pulp were applied to the graffiti and left to take effect... continues...
pebblesfromheaven Posted by pebblesfromheaven
9th September 2007ce

New suspect in Skara Brae enquiry.

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...
The Eternal Posted by The Eternal
18th August 2007ce

Graffiti daubed at historic site


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...
rocknicker Posted by rocknicker
15th August 2007ce

Arousing Discovery About Skara Brae Design

A 5,000-year-old symbol from the Neolithic village of Skara Brae has been singled out by researchers as a potent symbol of arousal in men... continues...
Posted by Finwife
21st December 2003ce
Edited 6th January 2004ce

Crack Fears for Skara Brae Stones

From BBCi
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
Jane Posted by Jane
12th September 2003ce
Edited 6th January 2004ce

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...
Jane Posted by Jane
31st August 2003ce
Edited 6th January 2004ce

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Photographs:<b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Zeb <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Zeb <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by thelonious <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Vicster <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Vicster <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Moth <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Moth <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Moth <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Moth <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Moth <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Jane <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Jane <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Jane <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Jane <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Hob <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Hob <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Hob <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Hob <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Hob <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Hob <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Hob <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Hob <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by greywether <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by greywether <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by notjamesbond <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by JCHC <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by JCHC <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by OapostropheBrien <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by OapostropheBrien <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Martin <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Martin <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Martin <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by moey <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by moey Maps / Plans / Diagrams:<b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Skara Brae</b>Posted by Bonzo the Cat


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Very sterile feeling. A human conveyor belt of tourists coming and going. I was invited down in there after a long chat with the archaeologist stationed there.
Felt like Stonehenge and Mae's Howe. Though I did manage to have it to myself for 10 minutes by hanging around all day.
I wouldn't go again. The Barnhouse settlement 100 metres from The Stones of Stennes if far worthier a visit imo. And doesnt cost £9.
You can get a free look from a small ssection of fence by the entrance. Pretty crap though.
Theres a gate to the right of the entrance, right by the sea front fence. It's a right of way so you're allowed through it. You get a better free view this way. Just mention it's a row and the ticket masters will back off. I wasted £9.
The reconstructed house is definitely worth a look though.
harestonesdown Posted by harestonesdown
21st May 2019ce

Visited 6.6.12

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!
Posted by CARL
16th July 2012ce

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. Vicster Posted by Vicster
30th October 2009ce

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.
14th June 2009ce

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.

Absolutely enchanting and unmissable.
Jane Posted by Jane
5th July 2004ce
Edited 6th July 2004ce

Happily, Skara Brae can be visited after the visitor centre has closed, so you can have it to yourself, and peruse at leisure.

The glass roof over one of the houses detracts somewhat, but the others are pretty well preserved too, so it's not that big a deal.

Keep eyes peeles for the carvings, covered by sheets of perspex.

If you've a leaning towards gratuitous pondering, also keep an eye out for the suspicious looking stone lying prone between the village and the visitor centre, just inland of the path.
Hob Posted by Hob
26th June 2004ce

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).
Kammer Posted by Kammer
18th November 2002ce
Edited 22nd December 2003ce

Skara Brae, Orkney Mainland
Monday 12/8/96
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.
Posted by Martin
6th September 2001ce

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.
Posted by Kirsten
5th September 2001ce


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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." wideford Posted by wideford
21st March 2007ce

This is the poem featured on the cafe wall, inside the visitor's centre. I love it!

Skara Brae by George Mackay Brown

Here in our village in the west
We are little regarded.

The lords of tilth and loch
Are Quarrying (we hear)
Great stones to make a stone circle

In the last of the snow
A great one died
In that stone hollow in the east.
A winter sunset
Will touch his mouth. He carries
A cairngorm on his cold finger
To the country of the dead.

They come here from Birsay
To take our fish for taxes. Otherwise
We are left in peace
With our small fires and pots.

Will it be a morning for fishermen?
The sun died in red flames
Then the night swarmed with stars, like fish.

The sea gives and takes. The sea
Devoured four houses one winter.

Ask the old one to make a clay lamp
The ripening sun
May be pleased with the small flame, at-plough-time.
suave harv Posted by suave harv
22nd December 2004ce
Edited 23rd December 2004ce


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Skara Brae on BRAC Updated

Skara Brae on BRAC
Posted by markj99
5th January 2021ce

Online Exhibition; Digital Dwelling at Skara Brae

Filming and imagination at its best..... Thanks to Digital Digging on F/B for the link
moss Posted by moss
27th May 2013ce
Edited 27th May 2013ce

Skara Brae on BRAC

The Rock Art Component
rockartuk Posted by rockartuk
24th August 2007ce


Info & pics
Posted by stewartb
6th March 2003ce
Edited 7th March 2003ce


excellent site maintained by local entusiast- check out the whole site - good generalinfo. folklore etc.
Posted by winterjc
4th December 2001ce