When people think of ancient ruins, they may often think of marvels like Stonehenge or the Great Pyramid of Giza. Undoubtedly, these remarkable human-made landmarks are ancient sites to behold, withstanding the sands of time for thousands of years. However, the world has a rich history, with humans occupying the earth for millions of years. With that said, compared to some archeologic sites and ruins worldwide, Stonehenge and the Giza Pyramids seem like they were built yesterday! Check out some of these ancient ruins, which are believed to be the oldest in the world.

8 Sechin Bajo

  • Location: Casma, Peru

Sechin Bajo is part of a larger site in Peru—the Sechin Archeological Complex—which is considered the largest (and oldest) Pre-Columbian monument in the world. Occupied between 3500 BCE to 1300 BCE, this breathtaking historical site in Peru houses ancient ruins that paint a picture of pre-Incan culture. In fact, in 2008, archeologists discovered a stone plaza at Sechin Bajo, dated at least 5,500 years old, built around 3500 BCE. Additionally, it’s believed that the Sechin Bajo plaza is the oldest ancient monument in all the Americas!

7 Knap Of Howar

  • Location: Papay Westray, Orkney Islands, Scotland

Sitting on Scotland’s Orkney Islands, the Knap of Howar stands as the oldest farmstead made of stone in Northern Europe. Occupied over 5,000 years ago, this ancient ruin is composed of two houses with a low-level doorway and stone cupboards. It’s believed that this modest farmstead belonged to a Neolithic farmer who kept livestock (like cattle and pigs) and cultivated crops like wheat or barley. Additionally, the site also overlooks the ocean, providing gorgeous coastal views of the unique location of Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

6 Gobekli Tepe

  • Location: Sanliurfa Province, Turkey

Located in Southeast Turkey, Gobekli Tepe was once nicknamed the oldest temple in the world until Boncuklu Tarla was discovered (which is rumored to be thousands of years older). Regardless, Gobekli Tepe still deserves mention, as it’s pretty old compared to other ruins discovered worldwide. Once thought to be a cemetery, researchers discovered Gobekli Tepe’s actual purpose: a megalith for rituals, social gatherings, and other religious events. Additionally, archaeologists speculate that humans used this site during the Pre-Potter Neolithic era, which was around 11,500 years ago.

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5 Boncuklu Tarla

  • Location: Mardin Province, Turkey

Also known as Beaded Field, Boncuklu Tarla was recently discovered to be at least 1,000 years older than Gobeklitepe in Southeast Turkey. Specifically, it’s estimated that this site is at least 12,000 years old! Furthermore, it was said that numerous communities settled in the area where the ruins were found, including the Assyrians, Romans, Ottomans, and Babylonians. During the discovery, archaeologists and their dedicated team unearthed ruins like homes, temples, and other structures.

4 Potok Cave

  • Location: Mount Olševa, Slovenia

Ancestors of modern humans—known as the Aurignacian people—survived the harsh winters of the Ice Age. Furthermore, thanks to caves like Northern Slovenia’s Potok Cave, surviving the harsh terrain of the Ice Age made it a little more manageable. Thus, the Potok Cave was said to be a hunting station for the Aurignacian people (or, alternatively, a site of religious rituals). Regardless of its use, hundreds of artifacts in the form of animal bones, stone artifacts, and other evidence of human activity were found in the Potok Cave (specifically near the rear, which was said to be the warmest part of the cave) by researchers, of which their archeological dig spanned for decades (since the early 20th century)!

3 The Burrup Peninsula

  • Location: Murujuga National Park (Burrup Peninsula), Western Australia

Also known as Murujuga, the Burrup Peninsula is a site of natural beauty, showcasing Pilbara's beautiful hills and the local area's endemic species. However, the Burrup Peninsula is also known for being the home of Australia’s Aboriginal community, inhabiting the area for over 50,000 years. Thus, Murujuga houses some of the world’s oldest petroglyphs and rock carvings, which are around 40,000 years old.

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2 Theopatra Cave

  • Location: Meteora, Thessaly, Greece

Nestled atop a limestone hill near the village of Theopetra, the Theopatra Cave, which looks like any ordinary cave, is made of nothing more than rocks and dirt. However, this cave reveals a storied past of human civilization in the form of a man-made wall (built for protection from the cold winds during the Ice Age). In fact, researchers estimated that humans began living in the cave 130,000 years ago, during the Middle Paleolithic era. The cave also revealed human life around the Neolithic period, acting as an archeological time capsule!

1 Gona Archaeological Site

  • Location: Afar Triangle, Ethiopia

Archeologists studied this site for decades, combing through the earth to find discoveries related to the link between archaic humans to modern-day Homo sapiens. Located in the Ethiopian Lowlands, the Gona archeological sites contains key evidence of Homo erectus (an early ancestor to modern-day humans), which dates around 1.8 million years old. Researchers also found fossils of early human species (Australopithecus Garhi) that date back approximately 4.5 million years ago!