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  • Writer's pictureKyle Sooley-Brookings

The Oldest Structures by Continent

Here is a list of the oldest known surviving extant buildings on each of the major continents.

Dates for many of the oldest structures have been arrived at by radiocarbon dating and should be considered approximate.


By Charles James Sharp - Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The oldest known structure in Africa is the Pyramid of Djoser in Egypt. It dates to between 2667 and 2648 BC. It is the earliest large-scale cut stone construction.


By Kuno Lechner - Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Cape Adare huts located in the Ross Dependency in 1899 AD. The wooden buildings were constructed by Carsten Borchgrevink in Victoria Land.


By Saeedrahdari (سعید راهداری) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Shahr-e Sukhteh in Iran. This settlement dates back to 3200 BC. The settlement features a rich source of information regarding the emergence of complex societies and contacts between them in the third millennium.


By Rupert Gerritsen - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The defensive fort is known as Wiebbe Hayes Stone Fort. Built in 1629 AD, it is the oldest known building in Australia, a defensive fort used by the survivors of the Batavia shipwreck on West Wallabi Island.


By No machine-readable author provided. NewPapillon assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0,

Barnenez in France. Located in northern Finistère and partially restored. The structure is 72 m long, 25 m wide and over 8 m high and was built in 4850 BC.

North America

By Matthew T. Bradley from Pittsfield, Mass., USA - Western side of the circular pyramid at Cuicuilco., CC BY-SA 2.0,

The Cuicuilco Circular Pyramid in Mexico was built between 800 and 600 BC. It is a ceremonial centre and is one of the oldest standing structures of the Mesoamerican cultures.

South America

By Sylvain2803 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Sechin Bajo in Peru dates back to 3500 BC. It is the oldest known building in the Americas.


By Dylan Kereluk from White Rock, Canada - Flickr, CC BY 2.0,

The oldest structures in Canada are in L'Anse aux Meadows on the Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland. These longhouses were built around 1000 AD. The Norse settlement is widely accepted as evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact.


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