The Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae is one of the best preserved groups of prehistoric houses in Western Europe. It gives a remarkable picture of life 5,000 years ago, before Stonehenge was built.
The Neolithic village of Skara Brae was discovered in the winter of 1850. Wild storms ripped the grass from a high dune known as Skara Brae, beside the Bay of Skaill, and exposed an immense midden (refuse heap) and the ruins of ancient stone buildings. The discovery proved to be the best-preserved Neolithic village in northern Europe. And so it remains today.
Skara Brae was inhabited before the Egyptian pyramids were built, and flourished for centuries before construction began at Stonehenge. It is some 5,000 years old. But it is not its age alone that makes it so remarkable and so important. It is the degree to which it has been preserved. The structures of this semi-subterranean village survive in impressive condition. So, amazingly, does the furniture in the village houses. Nowhere else in northern Europe are we able to see such rich evidence of how our remote ancestors actually lived.
The profound importance of this remarkable site was given official recognition in 1999 when it was inscribed upon the World Heritage List as part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.
All the houses are well-built of closely-fitting flat stone slabs. They were set into large mounds of midden (household refuse) and linked by covered passages. Each house comprised a single room with a floor space of roughly 40sq m. The ‘fitted’ stone furniture within each room comprised a dresser, where prized objects were probably stored and displayed, two box-beds, a hearth centrally placed and small tanks set into the floor, perhaps for preparing fish bait.
A rich array of artefacts and ecofacts has been discovered during the various archaeological excavations. They include gaming dice, hand tools, pottery and jewellery (necklaces, beads, pendants and pins). Most remarkable are the richly carved stone objects, perhaps used in religious rituals. The villagers were farmers, hunters and fishermen, capable of producing items of beauty and sophistication with rudimentary technology. No weapons have been found and the settlement was not in a readily defended location, suggesting a peaceful life.
Most of the artefacts are now on view in the visitor centre, a short walk away.
Village life appears to have ended around 2,500 BC. No one knows why. Some argue that it was because a huge sandstorm engulfed their houses, others that it was more gradual. As village life came to an end, new monuments were beginning to rise up on mainland Orkney, including most importantly the chambered tomb at Maes Howe and the impressive stone circles at the Ring of Brodgar and Stenness.isitors can explore this prehistoric village and see ancient homes fitted with stone beds, dressers and seats. A replica house allows visitors to explore its interior, while the visitor centre provides touch-screen presentations, fact-finding quizzes and an opportunity to see artefacts discovered during the archaeological excavations of the 1970s.VisitScotland
Culloden is the name of a village three miles east of Inverness. Three miles south of the village is Drumossie Moor (often called Culloden Moor), site of the Battle of Culloden.
The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart were decisively defeated by Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.
The two forces met at Culloden, on terrain that made the highland charge difficult and gave the larger and well-armed British forces the advantage. The battle lasted only an hour, with the Jacobites suffering a bloody defeat. Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the brief battle. In contrast, only about 300 government soldiers were killed or wounded.
The Hanoverian victory at Culloden halted the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne; Charles Stuart never again tried to challenge Hanoverian power in Great Britain. The conflict was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.The Battle of Culloden Wikipedia Page
Arguably one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Scotland, Glen Coe is about 4 hours drive from Aberdeen, near Fort William on the West coast of Scotland.
Glen Coe (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Comhann) is a glen of volcanic origins, in the Highlands of Scotland. It lies in the north of the county of Argyll, close to the border with the historic province of Lochaber, within the modern council area of Highland. The scenic beauty of the glen has led to its inclusion in the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area, one of 40 such areas in Scotland. A review of the national scenic areas by Scottish Natural Heritage in 2010 made reference to the “soaring, dramatic splendour of Glen Coe”, and “the suddenness of the transition between high mountain pass and the lightly wooded strath” in the lower glen. It also described the journey through the glen on the main A82 road as “one of the classic Highland journeys”. The main settlement is the village of Glencoe located at the foot of the glen. The glen is regarded as the home of Scottish mountaineering and is popular with hillwalkers and climbers.Glen Coe Wikipedia page
“In Scottish history, the glen is forever linked to the Massacre of Glen Coe, which occurred on 13 February 1692. Following the defeat of the Jacobite Uprising of 1689, an estimated 30 members and associates of Clan MacDonald of Glen Coe were killed by government forces, associated with Clan Campbell, who were billeted with them, on the grounds they had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William III of England and II of Scotland and Mary II.
In the eyes of many contemporaries, the unjustified bloodshed was not the principal crime – there had been bloodier events in the history of the Highlands than the massacre at Glen Coe – nor even the fact that survivors were forced to contend with the winter blizzard which caused many to perish while trying to get to safety. It was the fact of slaughter under trust – the breach of hospitality which also broke old Scots’ law.”
“The Massacre of Glencoe was not the bloodiest, not the most treacherous act in the history of the Highlands; but, it was murder under trust that could not be forgiven. The bond of trust, even among enemies which had helped people survive in the wild Highlands was broken for good, it was the beginning of the end; and for that all were to blame.”David McNicoll
Torry, lying on the south bank of the River Dee, was once a Royal Burgh in its own right, having been erected a burgh of barony in 1495. It was incorporated into Aberdeen in 1891, after the construction of the Victoria Bridge, itself made possible by the 1871 channelling of the River Dee which had previously followed an unstable course to the sea. The channelling also enabled further expansion of the harbourWikipedia