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19 August 2007
Graffiti daubed at Skara Brae

Vandals have targetted the 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae in Sandwick (Orkney, Scotland). House One at the site, one of the best preserved, was daubed with graffitti - possibly, going by one of the markings, by someone who spent the night in the structure. The culprit(s) - who are thought to be visitors to Orkney - used black marker pen to deface two stones; one on the house's dresser and the other on a bed corner-post. The culprits may have left an important clue in their daubings. They wrote: "Brian Finlay slept here 13-8-2007" and "scouse celts".
     A spokeswoman said: "Historic Scotland is both saddened and disappointed that such an act has occurred, as I am sure is the local community. Our visitors have reacted with surprise and sympathy to the damage caused. We have around 650 visitors a day to Skara Brae at this time of year who travel there from all over the world. Skara Brae is a hugely significant site. It is one of Scotland's national treasures and forms part of a World Heritage Site."
     Mary Dunnett, monument manager of the site, said that the graffiti was one of the first things that visitors to the village would see. "Someone has come in and gone into house one, which is one of the best houses here in Skara Brae," she said. "They've put marker pen on a dresser and they've also written their name, put a smiley face and the date on one of the bedposts so it's quite prominent. I'd imagine it will cost a lot of money to remove this without damaging the stone too much." A specialist team at Historic Scotland's conservation centre in Edinburgh are looking at the most appropriate method of removing the graffiti at the earliest possible opportunity.

Sources: Stones Mailing List, Orkneyjar (14 August 2007), BBC News (15 and 17 August 2007), The Herald (18 August 2007)

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