Tony Robinson, star of Blackadder and Time Team, is the poster boy for Visit Scotland‘s new push for archaeological tourism. The tourism board has developed several five-day itineraries visitors can follow to explore Scotland’s 10,000 year heritage.
Scotland is an archaeological wonderland with stone circles, mysterious prehistoric forts, and medieval monasteries. Visit Scotland’s trails focus on the country’s northern and western islands. Despite their rough climates, island chains like the Orkneys, Shetlands, and Hebrides preserve evidence of advanced cultures. One of the most important sites is Skara Brae, pictured above, on Mainland (actually an island) in the Orkneys off the north coast of Scotland. This remarkably complete Neolithic village was founded about 5,000 years ago and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built from local stone, the little homes are sunk into the earth to protect them from the elements. The interiors have shelves, hearths, and even stone furniture built into them. One even has a toilet with a drain.
The itineraries go beyond simply describing a series of sites. They also give information on how to get there and back, suggestions on where to eat, and historic hotels and B&Bs to stay in.
And don’t worry, you can still eat sheep’s hearts, wear man-skirts, and throw telephone poles.
Photo courtesy Dr. John F. Burka via Wikimedia Commons.