Ancient Orkney site of Skara Brae to feature on new stamp
The prehistoric village of Skara Brae on Orkney that was inhabited more than 4,000 years ago is to feature in a new series of Royal Mail stamps.
A special Skara Brae handstamp is also to be issued but collectors will have to post their mail outside the old Post Office in Sandwick between January 17 and 21 to receive the marking.
Skara Brae is one of eight prehistory relics - from entire settlements to tools and jewellery - to be celebrated in the new series which aims to illustrate life in Britain thousands of years ago.
The Drumbest horns from Northern Ireland, the Avebury stone circles and the Star Carr antler headdress found in Yorkshire are among those to feature in the new collection.
The Orkney settlement was preserved by sand for more than 4,000 years. Although there was knowledge of an ancient site in the area, the extent of the settlement was not fully discovered until 1850.
Eight dwellings survive on the site and are linked together by a series of low, covered passages.
Each square-shaped house is roughly square in plan with a single entrance, a central hearth, a dresser opposite the door and bed-boxes.
Inhabitants are said to have used beautifully decorated Grooved Ware pottery and forged a rich material culture of worked stone and bone.
Their diet was based on domesticated crops, wild plants, fish, seabirds and the products from sheep, goats, pigs and cattle.
Royal Mail described the new stamps, illustrated by London-based artist Rebecca Strickson as a “timeline of prehistory”.
They indicate a huge degree of organisation in ambitious building projects, and sophistication in exquisite metal working, a spokesman said,
Philip Parker, stamp strategy manager at Royal Mail, said: “The UK has an incredibly rich heritage of prehistoric sites and exceptional artefacts.
“These new stamps explore some of these treasures and give us a glimpse of everyday life in prehistoric in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, from the culture of ancient ritual and music making to sophisticated metalworking and the building of huge hill forts.”
The stamps are available from tomorrow (Tuesday, January 17 January 2017).