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The Almendres Cromlech megalithic complex, located 38°33′28″N 08°3′41″W / 38.55778°N 8.06139°W / 38.55778; -8.06139Coordinates: 38°33′28″N 08°3′41″W / 38.55778°N 8.06139°W / 38.55778; -8.06139 near Guadalupe, Évora, Portugal, is one of the earliest public monuments. It is the largest existing group of structured menhirs in the Iberian Peninsula, and one of the largest in Europe.

This megalithic monument originally consisted of more than one hundred monoliths, some of which have been taken away for other uses. A recent dig showed that the complex had undergone several building phases during the neolithic period (5000 - 4000 B.C.).

It was found rather late, in 1964[1][2].

92 menhirs of different sizes currently form two grounds that were built oriented to different equinox directions. Several of them were put back in place[1][3].

The axis of the ovals is oriented along an east-west direction. The complex's position latitude is about the same as the maximum moon elongation (38.55 degrees for 1500 B.C.); the other latitude at which that happens is that of Stonehenge, 51.18 degrees for 2000 B.C.[1].

About a dozen monoliths present some form of carved drawings, four of which exhibit only small circular holes. Monolith number 8, with a cut flat top at about breast level and showing several dimples, might have served for finer astronomical observation, specially spring equinox observation, by putting small stones on them. These observations might be made from stone 39, on the eastern focal point of the elliptic layout[1].

It is believed that the monument had religious purposes and functioned as a primitive astronomical observatory.


Almendres Menhir

The Almendres Menhir, a single standing menhir from the same period, is located 38°33′53″N 08°2′53″W / 38.56472°N 8.04806°W / 38.56472; -8.04806, about 1400 m northeast from the megalithic complex, and near the road to Guadalupe.

The line from the Almendres Cromlech to this menhir points roughly towards the sunrise in the Winter solstice [1].


See also

External links


  1. ^ a b c d e Marciano C, "Sobre o Possível Significado Astronómico do Cromeleque dos Almendres" (On the Possible Astronomical Significance of the Almendres Cromlech), (portuguese, visited 30-10-2008)
  2. ^ Pina, H.L., "Novos Monumentos Megalíticos do Distrito de Évora" Actas do II Congresso Nacional de Arqueologia, Coimbra, 151, 1971 ("New Megalithic Monuments in the Évora District", Portuguese)
  3. ^ Alvim, P et al., "Sobre alguns vestígios de paleoastronomia no Cromeleque de Almendres" in A Cidade de Évora, nº 2 - II Série, 5 - 23, 1996-1997 ("On Some Hints of Paleoastronomy at the Almendres Cromlech", Portuguese)



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