Skara Brae ~ What the Hey!

Anyone who has known me at all, knows that I have great affinity for all things weird, ancient and unusual, especially if it has to do with Scotland.


North of Scotland in a very hostile environment for human occupation, the ruins of a so-called ‘Neolithic Village’ dated to between 3600 and 2200 B.C.E. was discovered in the late 19th Century when a storm tore away the grass on some low-lying hummocks near the shoreline. Known to the locals by various names over the years, the site, consisting of 10 individual buildings made of stone and connected by covered alleys and passageways, Skara Brae is believed to have been occupied for approximately 600 years before it was abandoned.

Now I’ve read a lot of historical stuff, but looking at these ‘Flintstone Houses’ that conjure up images of Fred and Wilma Flintstone; and Barney and Betty Rubble, I am struck by the full impact of what went on in this tiny village in the middle of nowhere in such an unforgiving climate. 600 years! People lived in these structures for 600 years! It’s cold up there, though it is supposedly mild for such a northern location.

Wikipedia says: Orkney has a cool temperate climate that is remarkably mild and steady for such a northerly latitude, due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. The average temperature for the year is 8 °C (46 °F); for winter 4 °C (39 °F) and for summer 12 °C (54 °F).

Still, this is cold to most people with modern clothing, electric blankets, shoes and gloves. I simply cannot imagine living there, raising a family there and dying there… for generations. Certainly, Skara Brae speaks well for the tenacity of the human race in general. But I do have a problem with one thing. As with all archaeological finds, the archaeologists have decided that the inhabitants were religious and they probably were. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with their ideas concerning some artifacts found in the ruins. They say the items shown below are some kind of religious artifacts as usual, though they are not sure what they represent. To me, their purpose is quite obvious. Fancy Meat Tenderizers!

(Except for the bottom one, which may or may not be a Neolithic dental instrument! Ugh.)






4 thoughts on “Skara Brae ~ What the Hey!

  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

  2. Tracey Alley says:

    It is a common trap for many, if not all, archaeologists to make assumptions about items not readily identifiable that they must be religious in nature. This of course, discounts the human need for art and beauty as well as the possibility that these objects could even have been tools of some kind whose purpose is still lost in the mists of time. Given enough time future archaeologists will be excavating our civilization and likely conclude that televisions were probably something to do with religion as most people seemed to have one or more in their home lol.

    Great post Brendan 🙂

    • Exactly so, Tracey. It’s good to hear your opinions match mine since you are a Superior Archaeological Genius Type Person! 😀 Thank you so much for posting and reading. I have missed talking to you over on Kindleboards. Take care.

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