The World’s Oldest Structures

Published April 1, 2012
Updated January 17, 2018

With buildings dating back to 3000 BC, a fascinating look at the world's oldest structures that have stood the test of time.

The World’s Oldest Structures: Megalithic Temples, Malta

Megalithic Temples

Dating back to 3500 to 2500 BC, 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 – suggest 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.

Oldest Structures Megalithic Temples

Megalithic Temples In Malta

Megalithic Temples Ancient Buildings

Knap of Howar, Scotland

Oldest Structures Knap of Howar

The Knap of Howar is located on the Scottish island of Papa Westray and is home to a Neolithic farmstead dating back to 3500 BC. Made up of two adjacent rounded rectangular thick-walled buildings with very low doorways facing, the farmstead is believed to be the oldest preserved stone house in northern Europe.

Knap Of Howar

Knap Of Howar Photograph

Knap Of Howar Scotland

Oldest Structures: Newgrange, Ireland

Oldest Structure New Grange

Newgrange is nestled in eastern Ireland and many believe the structure to be a religious site with 5,000 year old roots. While the edifice’s purpose is shrouded in mystery, many speculate that its functions were largely religious given the way the rising sun floods the interiors during the winter solstice.

New Grange

World's Oldest Structures

Mew Grange Ireland

Hulbjerg Jættestue, Denmark

Oldest Structures Hulbjerg Jættestue

Dating back to 3000BC, the difficult to pronounce Hulbjerg Jættestue is a burial spot in Denmark. Upon its discovery, forty corpses were found inside, one of which showed early examples of dentistry.


Hulbjerg Denmark

Hulbjerg Jættestue

Monte d’Accoddi, Italy

Monte D'Accoddi

Monte d’Accoddi is an archaeological site in Sardinia, Italy that archaeologists believe were erected between 2700 and 2000 BC. Discovered in 1954, many presumed Monte d’Accoddi featured an altar, temple or step pyramid.

Monte d'Accoddi Italy

World's Oldest Structures Monte d'Accoddi

Monte d'Accoddi Photograph

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