Cromlech of Almendres

The Cromlech of Almendres (Stone Circle)

This archaeological site comprises several megalithic structures: cromlech, menhir and stones, the first belonging to the so-called "Megalithic universe of Evora", with clear parallels in other cromleches, as is the case of Portela de Mogos in Montemor o Novo.
The Menhir is sited at the top of the slope 1.3 km northeast of the Cromelech. Of porphyritic granite, about 3.50 m high, above ground, and elliptical section of 1.20 x 0.80 m, was re-erected by its owner, although it is assumed that its location should not have been too far from the current one.
The cromleque was discovered in 1964 by the researcher Henrique Leonor Pina that stumbled upon the site whilst conducting a survey for the Geological Chart of Portugal.
Covering a wide chronological range, from the Middle Neolithic to the Iron Age - i.e., from the end of the 6th until the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. - this site presents, among other elements, a Cromelech of irregular circular plan, comprisingof 95 granite monoliths placed in small clusters in an area of approximately 70 x 40 m with the NW-SE orientation.
As for the monoliths, they are as a whole almond shaped, some of considerable dimensions, about 2.5 m in height, despite the preponderance of those of small dimensions. As for the decoration, some of these monoliths display the so-called "dimples" or, sinuous and radial lines. Some of them, whether by the profusion of decorative grammar, or by their strategic positioning within the whole, seem to assume the role of authentic, "stellar menhirs". In fact, the "menir 48" shows an anthropomorphic schematic representation, surrounded by circles and associated to the representation of crosiers. In addition to this, the "menir 57" features 13 figures of crosiers, executed in relief and, on a natural scale. As for the artifacts found during the different excavation campaigns, ceramic fragments and a polished stone ax were collected. It should also be emphasized that most of these 95 monoliths were either detached or fallen, until they were replaced by the team coordinated by the researcher Mário Varela Gomes, who took special care to identify its original location.
In the meantime, this same team has sought to find the settlement that would had been associated with it, identifying a small Chalcolithic settlement in its vicinity a research that becomes crucial, for a better and more complete understanding of the world that conceived it and the people who built and reused it over the centuries. In fact, this is a cultural site with a strong magical-symbolic charge that denounces a singular example of re-use of the same sacred space over time. It also reflects the very economic, social and ideological changes that took place in this very large temporal range in what is considered to be the largest set of structured menhirs in our peninsula, and one of the most significant megalithic structures in Europe.

Herdade dos Almendres, N. Sra. da Tourega

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