11 Jul 2018 71 views
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Neolithic megaliths|

Neolithic megaliths


Although megaliths (standing stones) can be found in other places in Portugal, in the eastern part, called the Alentejo, there are many of them. I spent a day "hunting" them in the general area of the town of Évora. They are mostly off the main roads along gravel and dirt roads. It was fun.


Menhir or menir - single standing stone.

Cromeleque or cromlech - group of standing stones

Dolmen - four or more large standing stones, with an enormous stone slab on top, providing some kind of a roof.


Neolithic period is a period along the human technology development line, from ± 10,000 to 4,000 BC, when the Bronze period started. The Neolithic period follows the Stone age and is a lot about the development of farming. 


A lot of theories surround the megaliths. People like to be dramatic and will easily think of burial grounds, great religious actions and the like. Fact is that nobody knows for sure. For instance dolmen are thought to be a group burial tomb, but human bones were uncovered in only 1% of them. So, whatever your theory, don't fall in love with it.


Bottom left - Cromeleque dos Almendres (Almendres is a tiny village)


Top left - Menir da Bulhoa. Look closely halfway up and a bit to the right; see the snake-like relief, as if made by three fingers drawing in mud


Top, second from left - Menir dos Almendres (2.5 kms from the cromeleque). If you drew a line on a map, from the middle of the cromeleque to this menir, it describes the exact path of the sun on equinox days.


Top, second from right - Menir do Outeiro (another tiny village)


Top right - one of the menhirs in the cromeleque dos Almendres. The scribbles on this one is the best visible


Bottom right - Anta-capela de Nossa Senhora do Livamento. This chapel was originally a dolmen. Spaces between vertical stones filled in to form walls and a quaint cupola on top of the roof slab.


Middle - another carving on one of the cromeleque dos Almendres stones.


Bottom, middle - maybe megaliths have something to do with fertility. I took this picture in one of their calmer moments, at cromeleque dos Almendres.



comments (16)

You find these in many countries, the U.K. included, everyone must have had the same idea Louis.
Louis: Thank you Frank. I visited a lot of them when I was in Ireland and a few in England. What is interesting is that there are a great number of similarities among those on the continent and the isles. There are also differences.
Thank you for this very informative post, Louis!
Louis: My pleasure, Elizabeth.
  • Martine
  • France
  • 11 Jul 2018, 04:15
En Bretagne aussi, il y a des menhirs.
Louis: Oui, Martine, ils sont répartis sur l'Europe, le royaume-UNI et de l'Irlande.
  • Chris
  • Not Nowhere
  • 11 Jul 2018, 06:31
I would have no doubt that ancient man used this distinctive things as fertility symbols. In the UK we have many sorts. Some of them, especially, I think, in Cornwall have religious connotations too
Louis: In what I have read up and learnt about these stones, the fertility theory is definitely ruled out. In fact nobody knows what they are for, but that doesn't stop anyone from bandying theories. Currently, archaeologists can't even decipher the symbols on the stones.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 11 Jul 2018, 06:53
Surely fertility symbols? It is interesting to see those megaliths all over Europe. Thanks for your detailed information!
Louis: What is a fertility symbol in aid of? Some of these menhirs weigh up to 7 tonnes. Why would someone lug a stone that big around - just to show that he is fertile? Or maybe planting it in the ground, wishing the fertile soil will make it grow? According to sources that I read, there is no association with fertility. Which leads me to the question of how do they know that?
"Whatever your theory, don't fall in love with it." I like that, Louis. smile
Louis: It remains amazing what people start to believe once they see these stones. That reminds me in a way of Hollywood stories. A compromising situation is created by the script writer, the other partner walks in on it and the first partner says: "Hold on, it is not what you think it is!" and the next half hour is about re-establishing the truth (and love). Every stone or pole sticking from the ground is not an erect phallus.
It is interesting how societies that would have been totally unaware of each other produced this sort of thing at around the same time.
Louis: What is interesting is that there are a great number of similarities among those on the continent and the isles. There are also differences. But what is interesting, as you indicated, that there could similarities over such a wide spread area (most parts of the world).
  • Suzanne Fox
  • UK
  • 11 Jul 2018, 08:31
What an amazing collection of photographs. You must have enjoyed every minute of finding these standing stones.
Louis: Thank you Suzanne - I really enjoyed the "hunt".
  • gutteridge
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 11 Jul 2018, 08:46
It seems to be having an effect Louis.
Louis: On those two? Yes, it looked that way, gutteridge.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 11 Jul 2018, 10:28
This is an amazing set of pictures and I always wonder how they could do this with manpower, Louis. I am going to look on the internet later if I cand find some connection between these menhirs and the one in the UK. There are so many energy lines that are connected. Highly fascinating material to me. And of course Astrix and Obelix come in mind.....
Louis: Megaliths are spread over most of the world, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalith Watch out what you read - there is a lot of speculation about megaliths. If you can believe Asterix and Obelix comics, then menhirs were used as artillery against the Romans.
I am fascinated with stone and have no words!
Louis: Yes, these are kind of special, Mary.
What an amazing set of pictures and stones, and with all that information.
Louis: Thank you, Brian.
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 11 Jul 2018, 12:59
What a project - that would really interest me, Louis. Are the stones shown on a map?
Louis: I really enjoyed the day, searching and finding the various megaliths. They are on Google maps, maps provided by Tourist Information of the larger cities in the area. There are many more megaliths in the greater area, than these that I have included in my collage.
this is a very interesting presentation Louis... there seems to be stone circles and megaliths in many countries around the world....petersmile
Louis: They are all over. Even in Micronesia and in Canadasmile
Nothing Neolithic about the couple smile Although similar scenes might have been seen at that time smile
Louis: Yes, they were very busy at times ... What I always say, the fact that we exist today, means that people have been at it, through the ages.
The couple is not paying attention to the megaliths. Surely they have misplace priorities.

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