An archaeologist from the University of York at Star Carr(Rex)

An archaeologist from the University of York works on ancient cloth at the Star Carr site

An estate agent would no doubt call it "character-filled". He or she would probably also describe the 11,000-year-old house that archaeologists have unearthed in North Yorkshire, which they believe to be the country's oldest, as "compact": the dwelling measures only three-and-a-half metres across, after all. At the same time, our house-seller would probably be tempted to label the venerable residence "open plan" - living, sleeping and pretty much everything else all appear to have been done in one space.

Britain is full of extraordinary old things, of course, but it isn't home to the oldest human artefacts of all. Conventional wisdom has it that the cradle of our civilisation was China or Mesopotamia (now Iraq). As a rather faded bijou property that would challenge the descriptive powers of the most creative estate agent is dug from the mud of northern England, we present our guide to where travellers can see more of the most ancient manmade things on Earth.

Owen Adams is a freelance writer