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Minister visits Skara Brae

22 May 2008

Photo opportunity

Day:  Sunday
Date:  25 May 2008
Time:  between 10.45 and 11.30
Location:  Skara Brae, KW16 3LR

Linda Fabiani MSP, Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture, will officially visit the Skara Brae pre-historic village as part of her tour of Orkney. The Minister will be taken on a tour of the village with key members of staff.

Photographers will be met at the Skara Brae visitor centre by Ann Marwick.


The Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae, next to the Bay of Skaill, is one of the best preserved groups of pre-historic houses in Western Europe. Uncovered by a storm in 1850, the village presents a remarkable picture of life around 5,000 years ago.

Linda Fabiani MSP, Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture, said;

“I’m very much looking forward to my time visiting Skara Brae pre-historic village. This settlement is of great cultural significance and part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site; it will be fascinating to get a glimpse of life 5,000 years ago. Skara Brae continues to be popular with people from home and abroad with over 70,000 visitors last year. And with the recent unveiling of the new stone in the timeline, it proves that it continues to be relevant to both national and international audiences.”

The Minister will have the opportunity to experience the pre-historic village and see ancient homes which are fitted with stone beds, dressers and seat details; there will also be the chance to explore an interior in the replica stone house. The Minister will interact with the displays and touch-screen presentations in the visitor centre, learning about the artefacts discovered during archaeological excavations in the 1970s.

Notes for Editors

Skara Brae is 19 miles north west of Kirkwall on the B9056. Tel: 01856 841 815.

Tickets are normally £6.70 for adults, £5.20 concessions and £3.35 for children in summer (including Skaill House) and £5.70, £4.70 and £2.85 in winter (Skaill House closed).

The settlement is of great cultural significance and is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When a wild storm on Orkney in 1850 exposed the ruins of ancient dwellings, Skara Brae, the best preserved prehistoric village in northern Europe, was discovered.

The excavated farming settlement dates back 5,000 years. Within the stone walls of the dwellings – separated by passages – are stone beds, dressers, seats and boxes for provisions, recesses for personal possessions, and a hearth where dried heather, bracken or seaweed was burned.

A replica house has been created next to the site and many original artefacts found at Skara Brae are displayed in the visitor centre, which has a café.

Excavations were conducted at Skara Brae from 1928 to 1930 by Gordon Childe, one of the most respected archaeologists of his day.

Further work took place in the 1970s when advances in techniques allowed a much more sophisticated understanding of artefacts and organic samples.

Pieces of haematite not found on Mainland suggest the people were involved with trading. Ornately carved stones of no obvious practical use have been taken to imply ritual practices.

Historic Scotland has 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit:

Historic Scotland’s mission is to safeguard the nation’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

For further information

Laura Adamson
PR Executive
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8959 or 07769 630 763