BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

3 November 2014
Accessibility help
Text only

BBC Homepage
BBC Scotland
Scotland Education

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


This building is different from the other buildings in Skara Brae.

It’s a workshop, a place where people made things, not where they ate and slept. It has very thick walls and it appears to have been built differently from the houses. When it was dug out the floor was covered with debris from stone tools.

Archaeologists quickly realised that one of the holes in the wall was a flue not a door or a window. The flue allows the wind to blow through and make the fire stronger. The fire heated these volcanic rocks which in turn heated the blocks of chert from which tools were to be made.

This is chert. By heating it and letting it cool slowly it became easier to knock off flakes and make it into tools. These tools together with stone axes like this one formed the workshop’s first tool kit which was used to make a second, much wider range of tools from wood and stone.

With these tools they could make decorative objects. Perhaps these objects were exchanged or bartered with other communities.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy