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12 April 2008
New stone at Skara Brae commemorates man in space

One of Scotland's most celebrated Neolithic sites is to commemorate a defining moment in the 20th century space race by erecting a new carved stone along its carved stone walk way. The pathway to the Skara Brae prehistoric village, in Orkney, is lined with 13 carved stones that form a time trail of major events in human history. Historic Scotland created it as a way of emphasising the immensity of the changes that have taken place since the settlement was inhabited 5,000 years ago. The 14th stone, about 20cm by 30cm, to line the pathway will mark the anniversary of the moment, on April 12 1961, when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth - in his spaceship Vostok 1.
     The unveiling of the new stone also coincides this year's Historic Scotland Free Weekend, which takes place on April 12 and 13 so visitors can see Skara Brae and the new stone without paying. Skara Brae, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was inhabited between 3200 and 2200 BCE and is the best preserved prehistoric village in northern Europe.

Sources: 24 Hour Museum (9 April 2008), BBC News, The Scotsman (12 April 2008)

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