Historic Scotland

Opening times

Open year-round.

 

Overview

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.