Video: TV presenter’s thoughts on Skara Brae during 1964 visit

A splendid video from BBC Archives, featuring Cathal O’Shannon visiting the Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae.

But remember that although much of the information in this film was considered correct at the time it was made (notably the dates for the settlement and the inevitable reference to its apocalyptic abandonment) we now know that’s not the case. Nevertheless, it remains a valuable record of the site.

For example, note the glass-covering over House Seven and the brief glimpse of the Mill of Skaill, in the background, while the two presenters make their way down the beach.

The glass roof was added to allow the interior of House Seven, the best preserved structure on site, to be viewed by the public. But, by 2007, it was clear that the addition was actually damaging the structure so it was removed – replaced by lighter, turf roof that also keeps the temperatures within steady.

With elements dating to the mid-17th century, the Skaill mill is long gone. It fell victim to the coastal erosion that plagues the bay and was demolished in the early 1980s. In the 1990s a picnic area was created in the area the mill once occupied, but it too has been completely lost to erosion.

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