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16 September 2007
Skara Brae site graffiti removed

Experts have successfully removed all traces of graffiti which had been daubed onto the ancient Skara Brae settlement on Orkney (Scotland). The vandalism, including the words 'Scouse Celts', was found at the 5,000-year-old site last month. Historic Scotland said careful restoration work had returned the 'hugely significant' site back to normal, with no long-term damage.
     It had been feared the graffiti could have left permanent marks. A conservation team was on site immediately after the incident occurred and began researching how best to remove the marker pen. Stephen Gordon, senior conservator at Historic Scotland, said: "After extensive trials, we achieved the right formula and we are delighted to say it has been remarkably successful." Poultices made up of a solvent and paper pulp were applied to the graffiti and left to take effect. This removed much of the marker, but two further poultices with a different combination of solvents were then added to remove the remaining residue.
     Mary Dunnett, Historic Scotland monument manager at Skara Brae, said: "After discovering the graffiti, we feared there may be permanent damage to this precious 5,000-year-old stone, but thanks to our dedicated team of conservators, House 1 is back to its former magnificent state. Visitors and the local community have been very supportive during the past few weeks since the incident occurred and we are thankful for their co-operation."
     The Neolithic village of Skara Brae dates back 5,000 years and appears to have been occupied for about 600 years between about 3100 BCE and 2500 BCE.

Source: BBC News (8 September 2007)

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