Skara Brae: The Story of a Prehistoric Village

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author introduces a little-known archeological wonder: the ancient village of Skara Brae. In 1850, a storm blew across the Orkney Islands north of Scotland, exposing a small part of a primitive village. Over the next 125 years, the settlement was uncovered piece by piece and preserved. Skara Brae was first settled over 5000 years ago, when a small band of farmers and herders found the land good for building and grazing. The village's gradual evolution is revealed as readers see the changing ceremonial practices, burial methods and the design of the stone huts, which became larger and more comfortable. In 2400 B.C. a storm buried Skara Brae, and the villagers abandoned it. The items they dropped as they fled lay there for centuries. Dunrea's clear drawings put Skara Brae into focus for every reader; he delivers not only the engrossing tale of an ancient lifestyle, but a vivid story of an archeological search. (8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8 Around 3500 b.c. , Neolithic people reached the Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. One of their settlements, rediscovered in the 19th Century, is a unique archaeological find and the focus of this study. Skara Brae, literally the ``village of the hilly dunes,'' housed a community of people for approximately 700 years. Because of the shortage of trees, the homes and furniture were built entirely of stone. A violent storm buried Skara Brae intact around 2400 b.c. , and its inhabitants abandoned it. In 1850 a.d. , another storm exposed its walls. Subsequent archaeological studies leave many questions unanswered. For example, the crude pottery is a puzzling contrast to the sophisticated building methods. Dunrea, who has made four visits to Skara Brae, uses a straightforward descriptive style and is careful to point out the few speculations which are based on finds at neighboring sites. The emphasis is on the structures themselves, not on possible activities of the inhabitants. Technical vocabulary is defined as it is used. Attractive pen-and-ink wash drawings, meticulously detailed, enhance and clarify each of the 36 pages. The well-preserved site of Skara Brae offers a tantalizing glimpse at man's distant past. Childrenand adultsare sure to be intrigued. Marguerite F. Raybould, Glendale Public Library, Calif.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823405831
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1986
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years

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