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Oldest House in the World: A Look at the Knap of Howar

May 19, 2023


The Knap of Howar is a Neolithic farmstead located on the island of Papa Westray in Scotland. It is considered to be the oldest standing house in Northern Europe, dating back to around 3500BC.

History of the Knap of Howar

The Knap of Howar was first discovered in 1930 by the landowner, William Traill. It was then excavated in the 1930s and 1970s, revealing a complex of two small houses that were built into a midden, or refuse heap.

The buildings were made of stone and turf, with a thatched roof, and were constructed during the Neolithic period, which was a time of great change in human history. The houses were lived in for around 500 years before they were abandoned.

The Importance of the Knap of Howar

The Knap of Howar is an important archaeological site as it provides an insight into the lives of the people who lived during the Neolithic period. The buildings were not only used for living but also for storing crops and livestock.

The site also provides evidence of the development of early farming practices, such as the use of manure as fertiliser, and the use of specific plant species as a food source.

Visiting the Knap of Howar

The Knap of Howar is open to visitors throughout the year. Visitors can explore the site and learn more about the Neolithic period and the people who lived there.

It’s important to note that the site is located on a small island and can only be accessed by boat. Visitors should also be prepared for the possibility of inclement weather.

The Legacy of the Knap of Howar

The Knap of Howar is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our human ancestors. It serves as a valuable reminder of our shared cultural heritage and the importance of preserving it for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

In conclusion, the Knap of Howar is a fascinating and important archaeological site that provides a window into the lives of our Neolithic ancestors. Its enduring legacy serves as an inspiration to those who seek to learn more about our past and the world we live in today.


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