Skara Brae

 Skara Brae

In 1850 a ferocious storm scalped the high dune of Skara Brae in the Bay of Skaill, revealing the ruins of a 5,000 year-old village preserved in an immense midden or refuse heap. The furniture, including box beds, stone seats, dressers and cupboards, was intact. Drains ran below some of the alcoves, indicating indoor lavatories, and the houses had a damp proofing course - a layer of blue clay that would have worked as well as polythene does today.
Despite these signs of civilisation, the village looked abandoned. Professor Gordon Childe, who supervised the excavations from 1927 to 1930, believed this was due to a massive sandstorm which forced the people to flee. A more recent view is that the village became depopulated over a long period of time, in which young people moved into single farmsteads and the old simply died out.