Ancient History in Scotland
Nestled in the mossy, green hills on the Orkney Islands off Scotlandis a secret older than the great pyramids of Egypt.At first, it might not look like much, but the fact is, this is a unique andmagical place.Because within this rolling hillside is a perfectly preserved prehistoricvillage called Skara Brae.The winter of 1850 hit Orkney hard. A severe storm caused greatdevastation and resulted in more than 200 deaths. But it also revealedsomething long forgotten. When the storm abated, villagers discovereda settlement under the sand.The settlement consists of eight stone houses and was inhabitedbetween roughly 3180 and 2500 B.C., making Skara Brae one of theoldest agriculture villages in the UK.Skara Brae has been called the "Scottish Pompeii" because theancient monument is so well preserved. Since the surrounding sandand the buildings' architecture were well protected against the cold,both the buildings and their contents have been remarkably preservedthroughout the millennia.Archaeologists estimate that 50-100 people lived in the village. Whenthe settlement was built, the houses were 1,500 [metres] from the sea.Now, the sea has dug closer to the village and the view from thesettlement has changed from pastures to the sea.The settlement's seven or eight houses were connected to each otherby tunnels. Each residence could be closed off with a stone door.In every room, one bed was always bigger than the other, but no oneknows why. Each room also contains cabinets, dressers, seats, andstorage boxes. These boxes were built to be waterproof, suggestingthat they might have stored live seafood for later consumption.One house is distinct from the other, however. Archaeologists didn'tfind any beds or other furniture. The house is believed to havefunctioned as a workshop.Amazingly, the village also had a sewage system and each house hadits own toilet.Skara Brae was a society which centred around families. Thedwellings are all quite similar, which led archaeologists to concludethat this society was a fairly equal one, without any authoritative leadership.Some believe that the villagers were Picts, a people of unknown originwho settled in eastern and northern Scotland near the end of the BritishIron Age. But archaeological findings have shown that the people wholived here could have lived much earlier than that.A number of mysterious discoveries have been made at the site, includingthis carved stone ball, though no one really knows what it was used for.And no one knows why the village was abandoned. But around 2500 B.C.,the Orkney Islands became cooler and wetter. Many theories speculate abouthow the people of Skara Brae met their fate; the most popular onesinvolve a violent storm.What's the future look like for Skara Brae? Although the settlement was built nearlytwo [kilometres] from the beach, in recent centuries, it has been increasingly threatenedby the sea. Since 1926, the houses have been protected from the approaching sea andharsh autumn winds by a concrete wall.There has been talk about building an artificial beach with boulders and breakwaterto preserve Skara Brae and several other ancient monuments at risk of being destroyed.But nothing has happened yet. Until further notice, tourists continue to visit this fascinatingplace, but the question is for how long?I personally hope that the Scottish Government will do all they canto preserve this amazing place.Please share this with others so that more people get the chance to discover the wonder that is history!