Stone Age to Iron Age – KQ3 Supporting information – What can we learn about life in the Stone Age from a study of Skara Brae

More than 5,000 years ago, during the New Stone Age, Neolithic farmers and herders reached a group of islands to the north of Scotland-the Orkneys. They found the islands a great place to settle; there was open grassland for grazing; stones that could be used for building houses and monuments( there were no trees so they couldn’t build from wood); no dangerous animals that would kill the livestock and peat that could be burned as fuel, like coal today.

One small band of settlers ,perhaps 20 people, established a village on the west coast of the island. Together they owned a flock of sheep, a small herd of cattle and a few pigs. Straightaway they found flat stones that they could split and lay flat on top of each other, projecting a little in wards as the walls got higher. We don’t know yet what they used to support the roofs but some archaeologists think it might have been skins stretched over large whalebones.

The plan of each house was basically square with rounded corners. Each hut was big enough to allow room for a central hearth, a stone bed set into the wall on either side of the hearth

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