Forsaken by their Gods, Four Ruins of the Oldest Temples in the World

Forsaken by their Gods, Four Ruins of the Oldest Temples in the World

On Orkney, the archipelago of the north coast of Scotland, ancient temple sites such as the Ness of Brodgar and Barnhouse Settlement, stone circles like Ring of Brodgar and Standing Stones of Stennes, were built between 3200 BC and 2500 BC. Being born and raised in the region of the earliest outdoor temples in the world, inspired historian Ashley Cowie to take a look at four of the oldest temple structures in the world.

Ashley Cowie at The Ring of Brodgar Neolithic henge and stone circle located about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) north-east of Stromness on the Mainland, the largest island in Orkney, Scotland. This stone temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. (Image: Ashley Cowie)

Ashley Cowie at The Ring of Brodgar Neolithic henge and stone circle located about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) north-east of Stromness on the Mainland, the largest island in Orkney, Scotland. This stone temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. (Image: Ashley Cowie)

The word ‘temple’ is derived from the Latin templum which dates to around the 6th century and was used to describe a structure built for religious or spiritual activities ranging from worship, prayer and meditation to animal sacrifices. The templum was a delineated sacred space managed by a priest (or augur) and thought of as a spiritually charged location offering the devoted a broadband connection with heaven, god, gods and spirits. The designs of temples are wide and diverse and dispersed across the ancient world.


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