Let me first admit I stole the title for this post from Susie Malcolm. But on our second day in Orkney, we traveled far, far back in time.
We visited Skara Brae. What was once thought to be a Pictish village, some 500 years in age, was proven to date back to the Neolithic Era--over 5000 years ago.
This means it predates the first Crusade (AD 1095), the Fall of Rome (AD 476), the Great Pyramids, and even Stonehenge (2100 BC).
The path to the excavated village took us backward through time, past markers laid beside the path to show us just how far we traveled and how ancient Skara Brae is.
Originally excavated in early 1850 when a great storm uncovered a number of stone buildings, four ancient houses had been unearthed by 1868 when excavation was abandoned. Then, in 1925, another storm struck, damaging the exposed structures. A sea wall was built to help protect the houses, and during its construction even more buildings were discovered.
The eight houses are linked by covered passages, perfect for protection from invaders and the wrath of the sea. Over time (presumably about 600 years), the houses became increasingly embedded in sand and other rubbish, and were abandoned. Sand continued to be heaped over the ruins, protecting it from the elements, and leaving them wonderfully preserved.
The houses seem to have similar designs with large square rooms, a bed edged in stone on either side, a fire pit in the center, and a set of shelves on the wall facing the doorway.
Many artifacts have been discovered, including necklaces and other jewelry, pottery, and richly carved stone ornaments. No weapons have been found, suggesting life here may have been quite peaceful.
We also visited Skaill House, which is a very short walk from the Skara Brae excavations, and home of the man who discovered the village (the first 4 homes, anyway).
It is a lovely 17th century mansion overlooking Skaill Bay, and now reflects the home as the family lived in it in the 1950s.
At the gift shop at Skara Brae, I met Thorfinn the Mighty, destined to become my companion for the remainder of the tour. Feel free to introduce yourself to the Thorfinn. You'll see his handsome mug in pictures throughout the rest of my trip. Silly rascal.
6/25/2019 02:10:52 pm
How wonderful you were able to visit Skara Brae! I had wanted to take a trip there but we weren't able to at the time when I was in Scotland. I plan another trip someday and this is high on my list. Thank you for sharing your experience and awesome pictures!!!
6/25/2019 08:37:13 pm
Oh, I do hope you get to visit Skara Brae on your next trip, Lane! It was so amazing!
Kelly Ann Scott
6/26/2019 08:37:13 am
Lovely pics and good information about the site. I visited it in 2017 but we didn't have time for Skaill House so thanks for the details about it! And it's nice to meet Thorfinn!!! ❤️
6/26/2019 08:43:35 am
Glad I was able to help, Kelly Ann! Thanks so much for stopping by. You got a wave from Thorfinn!
7/1/2019 01:50:51 pm
All hail, Thorfinn, the Mighty! What a worthy travel companion...Gives that snooty roaming Gnome a run for his money! I loved seeing Thorfinn enjoy all the sights along this adventure. Any chance he becomes a character in a future novel? Or gets an honorable mention? LOL.
7/1/2019 04:39:44 pm
You know, Cindy, I write medieval tales, and in Scotland (at least on the Western Isles and Orkney) that means Vikings. So, he just might show up. :-)
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