With buildings dating back to 9,000 BC, these are some of the world's oldest structures that have stood the test of time.
During the Neolithic Age, a period that lasted from around 9,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE, the world looked dramatically different. With the gradual development of agriculture, formerly nomadic societies began to settle, and temporary encampments gave way to permanent homes and buildings carved into bedrock and erected from massive stones. These represent the world’s oldest structures.
Into the rock, these ancient peoples carved their fears, hopes, and dreams: They left behind both mysterious, indecipherable pictograms and stunningly clear animal reliefs. They raised the world’s first megaliths, enormous rock monuments that stood watch over religious ceremonies and burials.
And they made homes, honeycomb-pattern mazes and wide-open temples, underground tombs, and lofty daises for ceremonies and sacrifices. The structures are as different as the peoples who made them. They span the globe, appearing everywhere from Turkey and Malta to France and Peru.
Read on to explore some of the world’s oldest structures.
Oldest Structures: Megalithic Temples, Malta
Dating back to 3,500 to 2,500 BCE, the Megalithic Temples of Malta are some of the oldest structures in the world. As the name suggests, they are a group of stone temples older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Excellently preserved, they were rediscovered and restored in the 19th century by European and native Maltese archaeologists.
While not much is known about who built them, evidence from inside the temples – livestock sacrifices – suggests that local farmers constructed the stony structures. There are several temples scattered around, many of which appear on the UNESCO World Heritage List. However, the most important one of them all is the two-temple complex at Ggantija.