The stony soil, the waves breaking on the shore, barren, covered with Heather… it looks like most of the Orkney Islands, an archipelago located off the coast of Scotland. Only 20 of the 70 scraps of land inhabited today. And when it was full of life!
The violent storm that struck the West coast of the island of Mainland in the 1850’s, not only led to a series of disasters, but also to the most important archaeological discoveries.
The storm raged for several days, and when it subsided, aboard fishing boats, hunted cod, the sailors discovered something strange, previously not seen them. It was the skeletons of stone houses, whose walls were previously hidden under salt water washed away the hills. The fishermen told about his discovery, the news reached London.
But at the Royal geographical society message accepted indifferently: you never know Albion small Viking settlement, which they used as ports during their voyages. And to get to remote and desolate district in those days was problematic.
Therefore, only in 1913 on the shores of the Mainland appeared first expedition. True, at first constituted their basis cavers decided to explore the local caves. Later as part of a expedition to the Orkney archipelago came to Professor Boyd Dawkins.
Maybe scientist would consider only cavities, but the case turned the development of the story in the right direction. Professor invited , Lord Balfour Stewart, the owner of the local lands. And during a five-hour tea – so, among other things, he mentioned the buildings in the town of Skara Bray. Dawkins became interested and went to the coast.
What he saw Professor greatly puzzled. Dawkins was good at history and therefore met the structure. No, they were not similar to buildings of the Vikings. Then what is it? Asking the Lord to take measures for the preservation of the settlement – storms that carry sand and sediments, then carried them back into the sea, and the scientist hastened to London.
And here told him about the discovery of the scientist-archaeologist, Professor Gordon Childu. He categorically stated that this is the remains of the settlement of the Picts – the implacable enemies of the Romans-invaders and the Scots displaced by the latter in these places approximately to the IX century.
A strange settlement
Indeed, such a nation existed. As scientists assume, it had Iberian roots, and in those days, when between the current British Isles and the continent existed, the isthmus, subsequently sank to the bottom of the sea, they crossed over to the shores of Albion.
But when the child arrived on the scene in mid-1924, then was confused.
Alarmed by the archaeologist that the inputs to all eight of the surviving buildings to a height not exceeding one meter. However, excavations of ancient graves of the Picts showed that their average growth differed from growth of modern humans. Also preserved the appearance of the men of this nation – a slender dark-haired people of the Caucasian type with long narrow heads.
The bewilderment increased when managed to get inside the first building-stone beds, according to their length, could only adopt a child. And then the scientist came up with: actually it is not a settlement of the Picts, there lived representatives of some other nationalities, and the age of the houses belongs to the Neolithic period and the dates from 3100-2500 BC. By the way, in the 1970’s, scientists using radiocarbon Dating have confirmed the conjecture of Professor child.
So, what would have appeared to the eyes of the participants of the first expedition? As a building material was used micaceous Sandstone, and houses were built of round shape is likely to have a lower wind load. The Foundation of the houses was slightly buried in the ground, which saves heat, but the building itself was surrounded by an earthen mound, again for better thermal insulation.
Unfortunately, wood was the problem, so for the ceiling beams was used, harvested on the sea shore, snag or bones of whales, which in those days dwelt in the Northern waters and which are often thrown on the coast. The ceiling was a stretched deer skin, reinforced leather ropes, on which were placed layers of peat.
Another interesting detail – the houses were built on piles of trash. That is, first formed dump, and then in its place was erected the recessed base. It is possible that sustainability and, again, insulation.
I must say that in those days the locals were in good living conditions. The room was heated by a furnace, which was heated by peat. However, the room was one big room with an area of approximately 40 square meters, which was separated storage room and… a toilet. Yes, the settlement existed quite well-constructed sewage system, a fresh water due to rain and with the help of drains, accumulate in huge stone tanks.
The main food of the natives was fish, which was caught from the shore – after building wooden ships was not anything else. Pro stock and in the winter harvested dried venison. In addition, the climatic conditions of that time contributed to agriculture, and bread from flour made up a significant part of the diet of local residents. Furniture skilled stonemasons were made of stone – wardrobes, chests and beds.
Who are they?
So you could assume that on the Bay there was a large settlement, which gradually (or almost immediately?) was absorbed by the sea. Looked like the natives, could not be established. Most likely, their burial grounds, in contrast to surviving in the Islands of the graves of the Picts, too, disappeared under the water. So who were they, the first Orkney Neolithic times?
Scientists have suggested that they came to the shores of Scotland on the ship that crashed on the coastal rocks during a storm. And since building a new ship was not from that, then had to settle at the new place. Some food for thought given excavations on the site of Skara Bray.
For example, it was revealed that the eighth surviving building whose interior was divided into cells, was a workshop where craftsmen produced simple production tools such as stone axes or needles made of fish bones, as well as trinkets and jewelry.
But failed to explain the purpose of bone and stone artifacts with the image pyramids. And here was born the “Egyptian version”. Scientists have suggested that in these places at one time settled by the emigrants from Egypt -or rather, representatives of a caste of priests.
As arguments cited the following arguments. First, was struck by the level of construction typical of the period, only to Egypt. Further, the pottery found during the excavations, in its style and appearance is very reminiscent of the jewelry of ancient Egyptian potters.
Even the people who lived in those days on the shores of the Gulf of Suez, by today’s standards it was short, something about 150 inches. Hence the small entrances to the home.
Finally, of particular interest to scientists has caused drawings and inscriptions made on walls, cabinets and beds. The first resembled a lunar calendar tied to the image of the Solar system and the signs of the zodiac, was known to the Egyptian astronomers.
But the labels initially thought to be made of runic symbols.
But on closer analysis it became clear that the runic characters were used only sixteen letters, and the signs of the Orkney written more like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Unfortunately, the Egyptians themselves are not particularly bother doing Chronicles with the description of the migrations, and the few papyrus evidence, which after all was created, most of them were destroyed by Alexander the great during his capture of Heliopolis. So the mystery of the island, most likely, never again would not be revealed.