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The World’s Oldest Buildings

Archaeologists and scientist largely agree that many of the world's oldest surviving buildings or manmade constructions are graves, temples and tombs. It’s their understanding that dwellings created for human habitation were made of far less durable materials and so; many did not survive the ravages of time.

The Anderselite team wanted to look more closely at this topic and find out which ancient buildings remain…

    

Worship and honouring the dead where a priority as far back as 4850 BC, when the chambered cairns at Barnenez where built. Located in France in the northern region of Finistere, these partially restored burial chambers stretch for 73m and are over 8m high. Built from an estimated 14,000 tonnes of stone, the structure which has been called The Prehistoric Parthenon contains 11 chambers that can be entered by separate passageways.

The stepped profile of the chambered cairns is steep and the stability of the structure is exceptionally strong as it has survived for centuries. Considered one of the earliest megalithic monuments in Europe, these burial chambers overlooking the Bay of Morlax are some of the oldest surviving buildings in the world

The Megalithic Temples of Malta in Spain date back to 3500-2500 BC and are the oldest of their kind in the world. The stone temples are more than 5,500 years old and predate Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Of the 11 monuments, seven of them appear on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list and, although they can only be observed by the public from outside, they are a testament to the building practices of those who created them.
 
It is suspected that local farmers where responsible for the structures that have been beautifully preserved after they were restored in the 19th century by European and Maltese archaeologists, but this has never be fully proven.The pyramids are often considered some of the world's oldest buildings and are almost certainly some of the best known, however there are earlier tombs that predate these structures. It is the sheer size and impressive architectural planning behind the pyramids that make them so renowned, and the earliest step pyramids found at Saqqara date back to circa 2670 BC.

Located in France in the northern region of Finistere, these partially restored burial chambers stretch for 73m and are over 8m high. Built from an estimated 14,000 tonnes of stone, the structure which has been called The Prehistoric Parthenon contains 11 chambers that can be entered by separate passageways.

The pyramids of Giza are perhaps the most iconic, dating back to circa 2589-2566 BC and are still standing almost completely intact to this day. These sandstone buildings have withstood the ravages of the dessert and there are many theories as to who built them and how they were constructed. They are a testament to the greatness that can be achieved without machines and are monuments that are now well protected and preserved for future generations.

One of the few homesteads that were built to last is found at Knap of Howar on the Island of Pap Westray in Orkney, Scotland. This Neolithic dwelling is the oldest preserved stone house in northern Europe and was built around 3700 BC. Similar stone houses built into the cliffs are found in the nearby Skara Brae on the mainland, but this farmstead predates them. The buildings consist of two adjacent rounded, rectangular thick-walled structures with very low doorways and interior walls that separate living areas.
The roof is no longer intact but the 1.6m-high walls are well preserved and can be viewed close up. Stone furniture, including beds and storage shelves, is still intact and gives a vivid impression of what life was like during those times.

The Colosseum is one of the world's oldest incomplete buildings that is still in use today and is an iconic and popular tourist attraction. Built in 70 AD by Emperor Vespasian and completed in 80 AD by his successor and heir Titus, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre in the world. Located in the centre of the city in Rome, Italy and built of concrete and stone, this elliptical open air theatre is considered to be one of the greatest achievements of Roman engineers and architects. Although part of the building has collapsed, restoration teams have gone to great lengths to preserve the amphitheatre and tours and events are held regularly.

One of the world's oldest complete buildings that still fulfils its original purpose is the Pantheon in Rome, built by Hadrian in 117 AD. Intended as a temple, the Pantheon still functions as a Roman Catholic Church and has been in use for this purpose since the 7th Century. It is one of the best preserved Roman buildings and consists of circular portico of large granite Corinthian columns under a pediment.The porch is linked to the rectangular vestibule by the rotunda which resides under a coffered concrete dome with an oculus, and to date, this dome remains the world's largest unreinforced structure of its kind. The Pantheon also houses a museum that is open daily and its architectural features and longevity are a testament to the Roman's skills.

Many of the world's oldest buildings that have survived to be more than just monuments or ruins are still functional today. Several of these masterpieces have also provided prototypes for modern architecture and their design and creation continue to be inspiration in the construction of buildings.

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