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Skara Brae Neolithic settlement, Orkney. Source: Manel Vinuesa / Adobe Stock.

Orkney: The Island Whose History Is Eroding Into the Sea (Video)


In an era where knowledge is easily accessible, it's disheartening to realize that valuable fragments of our history slip away, forever lost in time. Nestled near the parish of Deerness in Orkney, an island conceals enigmatic archaeological treasures within its eroded cliffs. Scientists tirelessly work to unveil a hidden past that holds the key to understanding our ancestors' lives and the evolution of human behavior. Relics of the past, like fish and shell middens, whisper tales of a bygone era. From mere fragments, entire narratives unfold. The size of the fish hints at a medieval period when bustling fish markets thrived on these shores, marking the birth of Europe's first commercialized fisheries.

A cow skull reveals insights into the diet of those who once inhabited the island. However, the island's heritage faces a grim fate as climate change and rising sea levels erase these invaluable treasures. Increased storm activity and relentless waves threaten to erode the traces of our past. Yet, there is hope. Dedicated scientists delve into the middens and other sites, fueling optimism. They recognize that these remnants have the power to shape our present and future, informing conservation practices and shedding light on the plight of endangered species.

Top image: Skara Brae Neolithic settlement, Orkney. Source: Manel Vinuesa / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell



It was a storm that exposed Skara Brae.  A storm will probably take it back to the ocean.

From stardust I was born, to stardust I shall return

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I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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