In 1850, A Storm Uncovered This Door Beneath The Sand – Inside A 5,000 Year Old Secret

1. Skerrabra

Nestled under the foothills of the Bay o’ Skaill, in the West Mainland parish of Sandwick lies an ancient discovery, a completely preserved prehistoric village that gives us a unique glimpse into prehistoric life in Europe.


2. An Ancient Discovery


More ancient than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza, Skara Brae has been called the “Scottish Pompeii” because of its excellent preservation and incredible history.

3. The Storm of 1850


During the difficult winter of 1850, the Orkney Islands were hit hard with a devastating storm that resulted in more than 200 deaths.

4. Skara Brae

This building was not a house as it lacks beds and a dresser. It appears to have been a workshop for making stone tools and perhaps pottery, bone tools and wooden implements.
This building was not a house as it lacks beds and a dresser. It appears to have been a workshop for making stone tools and perhaps pottery, bone tools and wooden implements.

The combination of extreme wind and a surging tide stripped the grass from a large mound known as “Skerrabra”.

5. The Village


When the storm dissipated, locals were stunned to discover that underneath the sand lie stone pillars and agriculture.

6. The Excavation


The local laird, William Watt of Skaill, embarked on an excavation of the site and discovered the remains of four well-preserved stone houses. In 1868, work at Skerrabra was abandoned, but there was more hiding underneath the sand…

7. 5,000 Years Ago…


Archaeologists believe the site known as Skara Brae was inhabited by ancient Europeans around 3180 to 2500 B.C.

8. A Second Discovery


In 1925, another storm wrecked much of the excavated village known as Skara Brae. Archaeologists picked up where previous workers left off in the past and now eight remarkably well-preserved stone houses were unearthed.

9. Ancient Civilization


Historians believe that about 50-100 people lived in the village for nearly 600 years. Houses were 1,500 meters from the sea, but erosion has brought the ancient settlement closer to the bay.

10. The Inhabitants


The settlement’s houses were connected to each other by intricate tunnels with each home closed off by a stone door.

11. Life In Skara Brae


All but one house contained dressers, storage containers, and two beds, with one bigger than the other, possibly for small children. The house above had no furniture, leaving historians to believe it functioned as the village workshop.

12. The Community


Archaelogists believe that the Skara Brae village was centered around family and community, noting that since most of the homes are similar, there was likely no authoritarian leadership and much equality among its people.

13. Europe’s Most Remarkable Civilization

Today, the neolithic village is one of the most-visited places in Europe, although many people have never even heard of this incredible discovery.

14. The Museum


Artifacts such as gaming dice, tools, and jewelry have been excavated from the ancient village and are now on display for visitors to take a glimpse at how the hunters, fisherman, and families of this settlement lived.

15. The Mysterious Ancients


Skara Brae is also the site of mysterious discoveries and items that can’t be explained by modern society.