Top 10 Oldest Extant Freestanding Buildings In The World

Many of oldest extant buildings around the world are graves, temples or tombs. The ancestors mainly used enormous blocks of rocks for construction of such buildings. It may be the reason for their long time survival in the world. Most of oldest buildings are also located in European continent. Followings are list of top oldest man made buildings in the world.

10 La Hougue Bie, Jersey, 3500 B.C

La Hougue Bie

La Hougue Vie is an important historic site in Jersey that features finest passage graves and burial site of Europe. It was constructed by Neolithic people around 3500 B.C. The site consist of a large oval chamber and two small chambers at it’s Southern and Northern side. Although the site called as passage graves it also served as site for many ritual and ceremonial functions for centuries. Two medieval chapels also located at the top of the prehistoric mound.

In fact the Neolithic tombs within the site are older than periods of Egypt. These tombs are built using large slabs of rocks. The grave goods and potteries used by late Neolithic communities also present in the site. The two chapel within the site remained for use for more than four centuries and abandoned. They were restored back in 1931. The site also houses a archaeological museum which have large collection of ancient treasures including coins, axes and swords.

9 Sechin Bajo, Peru, 3500 B.C

sechin bajo

Sechin bajo is the oldest man-made structure ever discovered in South America. Archaeologists estimated that this ancient stone plaza dates back to 3500 B.C on carbon dating. The historical site located in Andes foothills of Peruvian city of Lima. The stone plaza was excavated back in 2008 by archaeologists from Germany and Peru.

The circular plaza was but using rocks and have diameter of 12 meters. Once it was used for gathering and as a ceremonial center. The information about people who lived in the site is still unclear. Archaeologists believed that the site was reconstructed several times by various civilizations. Many building decorations are also present in Sechin Bajo.

8 Listoghil, Ireland, 3550 B.C


Listoghil is the main passage tomb in Carrowmore tomb complex in Ireland. It is the only passage tomb in Carrowmore that to have a cairn, a mound of stones. It is also known as Carrowmore 51 tomb, numbered by George Petrie, The Irish archaeologist and painter in 1837. This ancient passage tomb was built over 5500 years ago. Listoghil was excavated in 1990. The cairn and passage of the sit was reconstructed in the same year. Archaeologists also discovered a megalithic rock art from the site, one of rare examples from prehistoric Europe.

7 West Kennet Long Barrow, 3650 B.C, England

West Kennet Long Barrow

It is one of the largest and best preserved Neolithic chambered tombs located in Wiltshire, England. It is the second longest barrow in Britian with length of 328 feet. West Kennet long barrow was built back in 3650 B.C, That is long before the construction of first stage of Stonehenge. The site features five stone chambers. It was used as a burial site until 2500 B.C. The tombs of the site was restored back in 1859.

The archaeological excavations in the site also found 46 burials. This uncovering of bones of ancestors from West Kennet long barrow also revealed that each chambers of the site was built for specific group. The West chamber of the site was used for burial of adults, Southeast for old, Southwest for children and Northwest & Northwest for mixed group. The tombs also contain many grave good,s flint tools, animal bones and potteries.

6 Ggantija, 3700 B.C, Malta


Ggantija is a large stone made temple complex located in Maltese Islands of Gozo. Ggantija consist of two prehistoric temples built back in 3700 B.C.  Ggantina is also the second oldest religious structures in the world. The temples of Ggantija was dedicated for Great Earth mother, Goddess of fertility and Oracle. The inhabitants of Malta once used Ggantija as a pilgrimage center. It was excavated in 19th century and became a world heritage site in 1980.

Both temples of Ggantija have around, curved architecture. Some of rock slabs used for the construction of temples of Ggantija exceed 50 tons in weight. These enormous rocks were imported from faraway places, long before the introduction of wheel.  Archaeologists believed that spherical stones discovered near the site was used as ball bearing for transporting huge rock slabs during the construction of Ggantija temples.

The temple at Southern part of Ggantija complex is the largest and older one. Each temples of Ggantija consist of five apses. The discovery of animal bones from the altars of the temple also represent some sort of animal sacrifice. Many clay figures and beautifully carved stone blocks are also discovered from the site during excavation process on the site.

5 Knap of Howar, 3700 B.C, Scotland

Knap of Howar

Knap of Howar is the oldest known stone monument in North-West Europe, situated in Orkney islands of Scotland. Knap of Howar consist of two stone houses and it represent Neolithic farmstead. Radiocarbon dating revealed it was used between 3700 B.C and 2800 B.C. Knap of Howar was restored back in 1930 and in 1970.

The walls are stationing up to a height of 1.6 meters and both stone houses have small door facing the sea. These houses are connected by internal passageways. There are also furnitures made of stone that represent the life of Neolithic farmers. The evidence from the midden of the monument revealed that the Neolithic farmers also kept their cattle, pigs and sheeps within the houses. Many of finely decorated potteries and tombs of Neolithic farmers also restored from near by places by the archaeologists.

4 Monte d’Accoddi, 4000 B.C – 3650 B.C, Italy

Monte d'Accoddi

Monte d’Accoddi is an important megalithic structure situated in Northern Sardinia of Italy. This archaeological site was dated back to second half of fourth millennium B.C. The different sections of the site was built between different period of time. Today the site only contains remains of floor of inner temple and  pyramid structure and some part of perimeter wall. So Monte d’ Accodi has been variously described by the archaeologists as temple or step pyramid. Monte d’ Accodi was excavated in 1954.

3 Tumulus Saint-Michael, 4500 B.C, France

Tumulus Saint-Michael


Saint-Michael tumulus is the largest stone made grave mound in Europe.  It is 120 meters in length and 12 meters in height. It was built in 4500 B.C and used as a burial site for members of high class families of that period. It was restored back in 1862. Scientists discovered many of furniture made of stone from the crypt of the mound. Just like pyramids of Egypt the site also contains many funerary objects. There is also a chapel situated above of the mound. It was built in 1663 and reconstructed in 1926.

2 Tumulus of Bougon, 4700 B.C, France

Tumulus of Bougon

Tumulus of Bougon is a group of five stone made barrows built by Neolithic people in 4700 B.C.. It is an outstanding example of one of oldest funerary architecture around the world. All five tumulus were made of stone and earth. The barrows within the site varies by their size and also have different inner structure. The first barrow was restored back in 1840.

The later excavation process within the site also help the archaeologists to found other borrows from the site. The enormous stones used for the construction of chambers exceeds 30 tons in weight. Scientists also discovered human skeletons from each of borrows of the site during restoration process. The Bougon museum also houses many of artifacts from the Tumulus including jewelries, flint tools and potteries.

1 Barnenez, 4850 B.C, France


Barnenez passage grave in Brittany of France is the oldest known man made building in the world, dates back to 4800 B.C.  Barnenez is also the exceptional example of oldest form of architecture remains intact. It stretches over 72 meters and contains eleven burial chambers. It was rediscovered in 1955.

Barnenez was built in two different stages. Five chambers were built in first phase of the construction in 4850 B.C, using local dolerites. The second phase of construction was took place in 4450 B.C. Six another chambers were constructed using granite slabs in the final phase of construction of barnenez. The chambers are linked by narrow passageways. There are also engraved symbols within chambers of barnenez, depict different animals.

Credit of images : Wikimedia Commons C.C