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Getting ‘Stoned’ in Portugal
If you will be joining us on our Portugal Highlights trip, you will be getting stoned! Geology folks! We’re talking geology!
Portugal’s Alentejo Region is famous for wine and cork. However, when it comes to ancient stones, this region ROCKS. (pardon the pun). We’ve all heard of Stonehenge. but, did you know that Portugal is home to several megalithic sites that are even older than Stonehenge. Way older!
First, some helpful definitions:
- Monolith: a single large stone block
- Megalith: a large stone used to construct a monument or structure, without mortar, either alone, or with other stones
- Dolmen: a prehistoric tomb
- Cromlech: a prehistoric circle of standing stones, often surrounding a mound or dolmen.
- Menhir: a tall stone standing upright, either alone or in a group
Just How Old Is Old?
The building of the famous Stonehenge in Britian spanned from Neolithic times (3,000 BC) to the Bronze Age (1,500 BC). This was 500 years before Eqypt’s Pyramids at Giza. The Almendres Cromlech just outside of Evora in Portugal date were set there around the New Stone Age, starting from 5,000 BC to 4,000 BC; roughly 2,500 years BEFORE the pyramids in Egypt and 2,000 years BEFORE Stonehenge!
Ancient sites stretch from Portugals North all the way down to the South. In the Evora areas alone there are over 10 meglithic structures, more than 100 isolated menhirs, and about 800 dolmens. This was a prime spot as it gave hunter-gatherers proximity to two river basins.
Almendres Cromlech (Cromeleque dos Almendres) is known as the Portuguese Stonehenge. This is a massive site with close to 100 huge standing stones forming two concentric rings. This is the oldest megalithic site in Europe and the largest in the Iberian Peninsula.
Almendres Menhir This is a tall, single spire shaped like an elongated egg with a bas-relief on the top. The menhir marks the sunrise in the Summer Solstice.
Anta Grande do Zambujeiro this is a funerary monument where dolmens were used to bury the dead
Come get ‘stoned’ with us on our Meaningful Trips Portugal Highlights tour this September 21 – 30, 2023.
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