Oldest Wooden Structure.

As far as building materials go, wood is supposedly pretty strong. Even car bridges can be made out of them. I can’t provide a cite. I’ve heard it in numerous places.

So what is the oldest wooden structure that is still standing?

Also, this next one is going to sound a little weird. But back when I was a little kid, we used to go to this wild west theme park. It was educational too. Anyways, they used to have these fake tombstones made of wood. The reason given was that it was a fad of its time. Stone tombstones were rather pricey. So some people just had ones made of wood.

Are any of these still standing? I mean the writing would be all faded. But still. When was the last one of these extant?


Waves hands in the air! I know this one!

It’s the Horyuji Temple in Japan. Built 607.

Now we’ll see if anyone answered while I was typing this out.

Depends how complete and elaborate you want it to be. Some prehistoric wooden walkways have been discovered preserved in the East Anglian wetlands.

Does this include structures made of wood that have been treated, repaired, partially restored, etc?

Regardless, the roof of Westminster Hall in London is pretty old. Built in 1299, still the original wood, albeit reinforced with steel bars out of sight now.
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Of course one needs to beware of Theseus’s paradox…

Methuselah, a bristlecone pine tree from California’s White Mountains, is thought to be almost 5,000 years old—and the oldest non-clonal tree in the world. The exact location of the gnarled, twisted Methuselah is a Forest Service secret, for its protection. Cite:Google.

This answer gets my vote over other suggestions offered so far.

As to the OP’s other question - I know the ones in Boot Hill in Tombstone are actually recreations. Likely goes for the other Boot Hills, too.

Also know as George Washington’s Hatchet; it has had six new handles and two new heads.

Europe’s oldest wooden house still going strong

Of course the Hōryū-ji temple has been continuously maintained, and undergone major renovations including complete disassembly/reassembly. Any damaged wood is replaced during those renovations. But there is still a lot of original material in there. When the pagoda was renovated in the mid 20th century, the lowest part of the central pillar (the part that was underground) was cut off and new wood spliced in. When the removed part was tested for tree ring patterns, it was found to have been harvested in the year 594. (Japanese language PDF cite here).

Car bridges are made out of wood- we have a whole bunch of wooden covered bridges in Vermont. The entire things are wood, except for the stone or cement footings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornish–Windsor_Covered_Bridge

I heard it as “Paul Bunyan still has the axe he first started logging with. He’s replaced the head 3 times and the handle 6 times, but it’s the same axe.”
The other one is the “George Washington Principle” - *It’s easy to tell the truth when you’re the one holding the axe. *

The wife and I have been inside that temple. It is very nice.

Interesting article. But why not include more than one really bad photo? :confused:

Maybe Seahenge? Though I think the individual timbers are permanently stored away now.

The wood was preserved because it was buried in peat. I’m not sure if that counts as “still standing.”

Greensted Church in Ongar is very old, with wooden beams dated back to 1053AD;

the date has recently been revised upwards from 845, because they couldn’t find any wood that old, but there has been a church there since that time.

Regarding this part of the OP, I believe that wooden tombstones often had the names & dates on them engraved or embossed rather than just painted on. (Just like most stone tombstones.) Sometimes paint was also applied to the lettering. But even after the paint wore off, the lettering would still be visible.