The Orkneys’ site of Skara Brae comprises the remains of eight buildings interlinked by low covered passages. One of these appears to have been a form of workshop, while the rest of the dwellings conformed to a standard design: a stone bed to either side of the entrance, the larger (for the male householder?) to the right, the smaller to the left, a central fireplace and a stone dresser on the far wall. The village appeared to grow from east to west and incorporated a sophisticated drainage system. The inhabitants kept sheep and cattle, ate seafood and grew barley. The site appears to have been abandoned after continuous habitation for around 500 years. The climate was becoming more cool and wet at this time; abandonment may have been triggered by a sudden catastrophic event like flooding or more gradual evacuation, perhaps through dune encroachment.
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