Knap of Howar

  • On the island of Papa Westray, Orkney



Drop in on the oldest standing stone buildings in north-west Europe, occupied more than 5,000 years ago. 

The Knap of Howar consists of two ‘houses’ with surviving stone cupboards and stalls. They date back to the third millennium BC – contemporary with Orkney chambered tombs, such as Midhowe. 

The two houses are the best preserved and most visible early Neolithic settlement anywhere in north-western Europe. 

Orkney is home to some of the most outstanding examples of prehistoric domestic and funerary architecture in Europe. The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site – comprising the slightly later Neolithic settlement at Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, the Stones of Stenness and Maeshowe tomb – sits within a wider prehistoric landscape.  

This includes the multi-phase prehistoric settlement at Links of Noltland on Westray and the chambered cairn at Holm of Papa Westray, where the inhabitants of the Knap may have been buried. 

Explore more with Orkney Digital Guide

Discover nearly 5,000 years of Orkney’s history and prehistory, including the Knap of Howar, with our Orkney Digital Guide.

Buy Orkney Digital Guide

Opening times

Open year-round.

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