Exploring Skara Brae

For a spectacular window into Neolithic life, head for Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The windswept archipelago is home to the greatest concentration of prehistoric archeological sites in northern Europe, including the Stone Age village of Skara Brae. The well-preserved settlement was discovered in 1850 when a severe storm blew away the sand dunes that were covering it. “Unlike other parts of northern Europe where homes were built from wood, on treeless Orkney there was no ready supply of timber, so they used stone slabs,” explains historian David Barnes. “When Skara Brae was painstakingly excavated by the celebrated archeologist Gordon Childe, it told us much that had hitherto been unknown about our prehistoric ancestors, since the wattle-and-daub villages on the mainland had long since weathered away.”

On our new voyage, Wild Isles: Rugged Coasts of Scotland and Ireland, explore Skara Brae along with the nearby megalithic monument known as the Ring of Brodgar. Together these incredible archeological sites offer an unusually complete story of what life was like 5,000 years ago.