The Great History of Skara Brae ~ Kwentology


People, places, and ideas help to create the world's history. Some are famous and some are less known. Take a trip back in time and see what we mean.

Image of Skara Brae

Today, visitors can go around Skara Brae and go inside the buildings.

What is Skara Brae?

In 1850, a powerful storm pounded the Orkney Isles off the coast of Scotland, stripping grass and dirt off a huge mound. When the storm cleared, amazed islanders discovered the outlines of stone buildings buried in the mound. Over the next 80 years, archaeologists uncovered a prehistoric village, built by people who lived more than 4,500 years ago. The name of that village is Skara Brae (scar-ah bray) and it is older than the pyramids in Egypt.

The settlement is made up of eight buildings that are linked together by passageways. The builders buried the stonewalls in the soil with the roofs aboveground. Snug underground, villagers were protected from wind and cold.

Image of Buildings in the Skara Brae

Seven of the buildings were houses, all with the same basic design. Each is made up of a square room with a fireplace in its center. On opposite sides of room are stone beds. Across from the doorway stands a stone dresser with shelves. Sunken into the floor of each home is a tank. This was probably used to hold fish bait.

The eighth building was probably used as a workshop. The ancient villagers were skilled craftsman, and it's likely this is where they made their stone tools. The villagers, who lived in Skara Brae from around 3100 to 2450 B.C., were farmers. They grew grain and kept cows and sheep, yet also found time to hunt and fish.

Image of Skara Brae Passageway

Stone passageways connect the houses of Skara Brae. They allowed the villagers to travel from one building to another without having to go outside.

Kwentologist Fact File

Because the only wood on the island came from driftwood, the villagers made their furniture out of stone.
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