The archaeological finding was recorded at the Perdigões complex, in the Évora district.
Archaeological excavations in the Perdigões complex, in the Évora district, identified “a unique structure in the Prehistory of the Iberian Peninsula”, the company Era-Arqueologia announced today.
Speaking to the Lusa agency, the archaeologist in charge, António Valera, said that it was “a monumental wooden construction, of which the foundations remain, with a circular plan and more than 20 meters in diameter”.
According to Valera, this construction “would be composed of several concentric circles of palisades and alignments of large poles or wooden trunks, which has already been exposed in about one third of its plant”.
It is “a ceremonial construction”, a type of structure only known in Central Europe and the British Isles, according to the responsible archaeologist, with the designations as ‘Woodhenge’, “wooden versions of Stonehenge”, or ‘Timber Circles’ (wooden circles).
“This is the first to be identified in the Iberian Peninsula, being dated between 2800-2600 BC (in BC), that is, it will be before the stone construction of Stonehenge [in England], for which a chronology has been advanced in around 2500 BC “, said the archaeologist.
The structure now identified is located in the center of the large complex of ditch enclosures in Perdigões and “articulates with the visibility of the megalithic landscape that extends between the site and the elevation of Monsaraz, located to the east, on the horizon”.
“A possible access to the interior of this structure is oriented to the summer solstice, reinforcing its cosmological character”, said Valera, stressing that “this situation is also known in other European ‘woodhenges’ and ‘timber circles’, where astronomical alignments Entrances are frequent, underlining the close relationship between these architectures and the Neolithic views of the world “.
IMPORTANCE OF THE PERDIGÃO COMPLEX IN EUROPEAN NEOLYTIC STUDIES
The archeologist said that “this discovery reinforces the already high scientific importance of the Perdigões enclosure complex in the international context of European Neolithic studies while increasing its heritage relevance”, which was recognized in 2019 with the classification as a National Monument.
The archaeological site of Perdigões, on the outskirts of Reguengos de Monsaraz, corresponds to “a large complex of circular and concentric areas defined by ditches, covering an area of about 16 hectares and having a maximum diameter of about 450 meters”, according to information from the Era.
This site has been excavated for 23 years by the company and has brought together collaborations from various institutions and national and foreign researchers.
The site has a chronology of about 1400 years, since the end of the Middle Neolithic (around 3400 BC) and the beginning of the Bronze Age (around 2000 BC) and “it is seen essentially as a great center of aggregation of human communities, where ceremonial practices would develop, identity, cultural and political relations between different groups were generated “.
Its implantation in the landscape “is representative of its cosmogonic character”, being located “in a natural amphitheater, open to the Ribeira valley of Vale do Álamo, where one of the largest concentrations of monuments of the Alentejo megalithism is located. The entrances to the most exteriors, and others in more interior spaces, are oriented to the solstices or equinoxes, functioning the horizon towards which it is turned like an authentic annual sunrise calendar “, according to the Era – Archeology.