(ORDO NEWS) — On a field intended for growing avocados, archaeologists have discovered a large megalithic complex.
In the province of Huelva, located in southwestern Spain, archaeologists from the University of Huelva explored land where an avocado plantation was supposed to be set up. Apparently, for it it is necessary to look for another place.
On an area of 600 hectares, scientists have found more than 500 megalithic objects. Preliminary dating – the second half of the VI – the beginning of the V millennium BC. Today it is one of the largest collections of megaliths in Europe.
Surprising is not only the number of stones, but also the variety of megalithic structures. Most of them are menhirs – the simplest megaliths, one might say – stone pillars.
But at the same time, a significant part of them was not put into place randomly, but lined up in peculiar alleys along a common axis (in Western archeology, this arrangement is called alignment ).
Menhirs have a height of one to three meters and are well preserved: they mostly stand in their places.
In addition, cromlechs were found on the field – stone circles, dolmens – the most “photogenic” megaliths, usually representing a kind of stone table.
Also on the field were found several so-called burial stone boxes (another name is cysts). This is a structure similar to a dolmen, but in the ground, and not on the surface.
Several burial mounds are most likely cairns , that is, man-made hills, under which there are dolmens. Today it is not entirely clear why some megalithic structures were covered with stones – not a single theory has yet become generally accepted.
A significant part of the stones is underground, and it will take a lot of time to excavate the entire complex. But it can be assumed that Spanish archaeologists found a place that had sacred significance for the builders of these megaliths.
This is evidenced by the fact that, despite the huge variety of monuments, most of them are ordered: menhirs are collected in 26 groups (“alleys”) with a common axis – most likely, with orientation to astronomical objects.
And two cromlechs (circles of stones) are located on the tops of the hills, which offer a good view to the east.
Researchers suggest that cromlechs were intended to observe the sunrise during the summer and winter solstices, as well as the spring and autumn equinoxes.
Now it is impossible to say whether the builders of megaliths lived next to stone structures or at a distance. Recall that for a long time it was believed that the famous Stonehenge (built on the principle of cromlech) was an exclusively religious building. But more recent research has shown that this is not the case at all.
According to one of the leaders of the archaeological work, José Antonio Linares (José Antonio Linares) from the University of Huelva, this is the largest and most diverse collection of megalithic structures in the Iberian Peninsula.
And the largest collection of megaliths in the world is located in France – these are the Karnak stones (after the name of the nearest city).
It consists of free-standing menhirs, dolmens and mounds – more than three thousand structures in total. Their builders were the pre-Celtic inhabitants of Brittany.
Usually, the Karnak stones are dated to the end of the 4th millennium BC, but there are works in which researchers suggest that the first megaliths were erected in the middle of the 5th millennium BC. Karnak stones are mentioned in various legends dating back to the Middle Ages.
So, according to one of the legends of the Arthurian cycle, menhirs are Roman legionnaires who were turned into stones by Merlin.
If the dating of the Spanish archaeologists is correct (this remains to be verified), then their finds may turn out to be the most ancient megaliths in Europe.
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