At Skara Brae, a number of necklaces, pendants, pins, beads and ornaments were found, showing that the people who lived here clearly took pride in their appearance and also that they actually had time to make objects that did not have any importance to survival. In other words, they had everything they needed, and so were able to spend time paying attention to their ‘looks’. There was also games dice, pottery, and richly carved stone objects, most likely used in special rituals. However, while there were a few stone tools found at Skara Brae, there were no weapons. In the initial excavations, one archaeologist claimed to have found a skeleton holding a Danish bronze sword, but he apparently just made it up – no weapons have ever been found. Not only that, Skara Brae is not in a defenced area. This has led to the common belief that Skara Brae was a very peaceful area, with little or no war. This would certainly explain the ‘laid-back’ feel to Skara Brae.
These people were farmers, fishermen and hunters who had time to enjoy the more relaxed side to life (in comparison to other Neolithic settlements).
Of course, life at Skara Brae ended eventually. Nobody is sure how or why, but as with almost every other ancient settlement, people just left. Some scholars and Archaeologists suggest that they all left after a huge sandstorm covered the houses, but others suggest that it was a more gradual process. It is possible that there were not enough supplies to go around, or that a disease swept over the settlement, breaking up the people. As life here was ending, however, new settlements and monuments were springing up on mainland Orkney. There are a few that stand out as especially important – Maeshowe Chambered Cairn, the Ring of Brodgar Stone Circle, and the Stones of Stenness Circle and Henge. All are worth having a look at, either online, or, if you are very blessed, in person!
Until next time, Stay Curious!