Archaeologists have found a structure near Prague older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge

(ORDO NEWS) — One of the oldest evidence of architecture in Europe was found near the capital of the Czech Republic.

These are the remains of a Stone Age structure, older than Stonehenge and even the Egyptian pyramids. Such complexes are called “round dances”.

During the Late Neolithic, or New Stone Age, the local farming community may have gathered in this circular building. However, this is only an assumption – the real purpose of the find is unknown.

What is known

  • The circle is quite large – about 55 meters in diameter, or about as much as the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • Its builders were part of the hatched pottery culture that flourished between 4900 and 4400 BC.
  • Researchers first became aware of the existence of this structure back in the 1980s, when builders were laying gas and water pipes, but the current excavations have revealed it completely for the first time.
  • So far, a team of archaeologists have found fragments of pottery, animal bones and stone tools.
  • Carbon dating of organic remains from this site may help determine the exact date of construction and possibly link the structure to a Neolithic settlement found nearby.

Representative of the Institute of Archeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IAP) Jaroslav Ržidkiy says that the people who created the hatched pottery are known for building temples in the Czech region of Bohemia.

Their settled agricultural villages, located at the crossroads of present-day Poland, eastern Germany, and northern Bohemia, consisted of a number of long, rectangular houses that housed 20 to 30 people each.

But “knowledge about the construction of round dances crossed the boundaries of several archaeological cultures.” Various communities built round dances throughout central Europe.

Archaeologists have found a structure near Prague older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge 1
Open trenches are being excavated by a team from the Institute of Archeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Round dances: what is known about them

A few decades ago, little was known about round dances. However, when aerial photography and drones became a key part of the archaeological toolkit, scientists realized they were the oldest evidence of architecture in all of Europe.

  • Seen from above, round dances consist of one or more wide round ditches with several gaps that functioned as entrances.
  • The inside of each round dance was probably lined with wooden poles, possibly with clay plaster in between.
  • Hundreds of such circular earthen structures have been found throughout central Europe. While their popularity in the Late Neolithic is clear, their function is still in question.
Archaeologists have found a structure near Prague older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge 2
Archaeologists are working on excavations

In 1991, a round dance of the same culture was found in Germany, the two entrances of which coincide with sunrise and sunset during the winter and summer solstices.

Therefore, one of the interpretations of the Gosek circle is that it functioned as an observatory or a kind of calendar.

Other researchers believe that such buildings combine several functions, the most important of which is social and ritual.

They were probably built for the gathering of large numbers of people, perhaps to celebrate events important to them as a community, such as rites of passage, astronomical events, or economic exchange.

After three centuries of popularity, round dances suddenly disappeared in 4600 BC.

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