A hunter-gatherer dwelling from the Mesolithic (Early Stone Age) period dates the first known settlements in Scotland to be around the 8500 BC. The temperature was extremely hot, the sea levels were rising due to melting icebergs and the people had to hunt animals to survive. Farming soon allowed the people in the region to settle into more permanent homes such as the Knap of Howar. The Knap of Howar is a well-preserved Neolithic stone house which is located in Papa Westray, and remains one of the oldest houses in the world.
One of the most famous archaeological discoveries was the Skara Brae
(on Orkney), which was a Neolithic village during sometime between 3100 and 2500 BC. These Neolithic settlements remain in good condition and helped
archaeologists learn about how people during those times lived from day to day. Based on the discovered community, it's estimated that no more than 50 persons would have been able to live in the area at any given time. All the homes had furnishings such as stone dressers, storage boxes, seats and cupboards.
This region has various prehistoric structures from the Neolithic and Bronze Age including over 300 ancient monuments such as hedge monuments, standing cists and burial grounds which are thousands of years old. There is amazing standing stones, a Temple Wood Site and five ancient burial grounds all located within a 10 km radius.
Maes Howe -
The Maes Howe is a marvelous Neolithic burial site with chambered tombs. Carbon dating shows that it was built around 2800 BC; the stone entrance passage is perfectly aligned so that the sun shines through the main chamber. The tomb is also well-known for its ancient graffiti which tells various stories from our past ancestors.
The Neolithic farmers of this time period created a huge giant circle out of stones which is believed to be used for religious ceremonies which involved the sun and the moon. Another theory is that the dead were put in the middle of circle before being cremated. The stones weigh about 5 tons and took generations to complete.
Crannogs are artificial islands built along a river or lake. Many ancient Crannogs have been discovered in Scotland, some of which are thought to be thousands of years. Some renowned prehistoric Crannogs are located in Loch Tay and the islet of Eilean Domhnuill.
Brochs are dry stone structures which were created during the Iron Age and are only found in Scotland. Most scholars believe that brochs were used for defensive purposes and used during wars, whereas other experts believe that they were created for the upper echelon of the society and only the tribal chiefs and important people of the village were allowed inside of them. They look like high towers and were designed to last and some of them have even lasted more than 2,000 years.
The most remarkable Iron Age settlements are hill forts such as the Traprain Law in East Lothian. Hill forts are gigantic fortresses made out of stone, surrounded by moats and were used to fight off raiders and intruders.