Showing posts from September, 2006

Megalitismo alentejano contemporâneo

Images borrowed from

Barrocal forever

Menhir of Barrocal

Images, taken by António Couvinha, in the Equinox feast around the menhir of Barrocal: shadows, unicorns, sounds and drinks

Dancing with stones


Recumbent stone

Barrocal (Monsaraz)

Before the performance started, we had an official opening ritual: the speakers were the archaeologist, the owner of the farm and the mayor .

Outstanding stone

The first images of the menhir of Barrocal, back home, after a long sleep of some thousand years.

Stand up comedy

The restoration of the menhir of Barrocal gave us some important lessons about megaliths and the people who erected them.

Admiration for the superb effort and skills needed to have success in such a task.

To achieve the objectif would have created a strong feeling of power and awareness, for people, of the advantages of working together.

Time has actually changed. The main reason why we have not been able of concluding all the operation, was the time we had available to do it. Neolithic people had no such kind of restriction.
We must remeber that the easiest and safest way to erect a menhir woud have been to build a solid platform close to the top of the stone and make it grow up as the menhir goes up. It should be large enough to allow the use of the levers and, in the end, it would be the same high of the menhir.
Of course, this method would implicate a considerable delay on the rithm of building, but anyway it would be needed, for the process, only some 50 individuals, using the levers,…

Standing Stone

The menhir of Barrocal is finally a standing stone again:
Monsaraz and Alentejo have got a new monument...
Before I have time to organize pictures, ideas and recover from a very "heavy" job, just have a look on the fantastic images caught by our friend Hans Wellig in

Megaconserto do Barrocal


Choses fabuleuses or very like a whale

The menhir of Barrocal is ready for the restoration.
Images of the stone, with Monsaraz in the eastern horizon, or the distant hills in the further horizon, aligned with the face of the menhir.

A strinking circle, not seen before, has been observed with the appropriate light, this morning.

The hidden faces of the stones

Very recently, in the slope of the same hill where is located the chalcolithic settlement of S. Pedro (Redondo, Évora, Portugal), we found a curious rock sancturay which closest paralel is, in the region, the Rocha da Mina site (see in this site, Caderno de Campo).
Very different, in terms of surrounding landscape, this monument shares the same features, carved in the rock.
No related artifacts have, so far, been found in the area.

walking in a megalithic landscape

Monte do Barrocal

Ideas for a tour in the megalithic territory of Barrocal.
Apart from the menhir, you can have a consistent image of the different types of megalithic monuments (and something else...) in the beautiful landscape of Barrocal.

Rolling Stone or the Rock and Roll in Barrockal

Before the Megaconserto (an operation schedulled for next Saturday, 23), when we are going to try to re-erect the menhir of Barrocal, using only ropes, wood, and human energy, we are now preparing the event.
First, we had to roll the menhir upside down, and leave it in the proper position for erection.
Actually, the site has been excavated last Spring and we found the socket structures very well preserved; this situation is, unfortunately, very rare, and the menhir of Barrocal will be the first one of the big menhirs of the region, to be replaced with such a precision.

Alentejan megalithic landscapes

Barrocal, Monsaraz

Close to the menhir of Barrocal (the biggest laying menhir of Iberia), we found a huge granitic outcrop with the stigmates of having been the source (quarry) of the menhir.
This fact is, of course, a splendid example to think about the relationship between megaliths and natural rock outcrops in the way Chris Scarre has suggested recently.
This outcrop, apart from a very striking anthropomorfic aspect, shows also, on the façade, a vertical natural shelter, going deep inside the rock, and another vertical gap, crossing all the formation and paralel to the façade.
Passages and entrances.

Alentejan megalithic landscapes

Anta da Candeeira (Redondo)
backed by the serra d'Ossa.

Beautiful and curious dolmen, with seven uprights and a perfurated backstone.
Its likely that the "window" is not contemporary with the megalith, and is probably due to a monk's reutilization, in the Middle Ages.
The textures and sizes of the stones make this monument one of the most perfect and worth to visit in the Alentejo region.
I join some images of the entrance of the dolmen with the sun light projected on the backstone, both (on black and white) suggesting the shape of the "thing" (or the whale, according to Cassen and Vaquero, 2003).

Digging a monument

Salgada, Borba (Évora, Portugal)

In this chalcolithic site we are digging, on a rescue excavation, part of a ditch, cut through the schist bed-rock.
The works, with a small team, go in alentejan way: slowly, very slowly.
I will keep showing some images of the excavation, as it goes deeper. For now, we have a curvilinear ditch, 1, 5-2 metres wide, with a narrow _(0,5 m) part, which is supposed to correspond to an entrance in the enclosure. On the top of the infill, the sediments are mostly composed by burned clay, with vegetable inprints, and beneath that layer, we are starting the dig others with plenty of pottery sherds. Stone axes have already been found.

Erecting big stones

We are going to restore the fallen menhir of Barrocal, close to Monsaraz (see As Pedras São Eternas, in the web-site). It is one of the heaviest in Iberia, and it has been excavated last Spring. The socket has been found, very well preserved, so the stone will be put in its original position.

To make a ludic event, we are going to use only ropes, trunks and human power.

Everybody is welcome to participate and, after the event, there will take place a musical event.

To make the appropriate calculations, we used a clay model, 1: 10, in order to test the use of a special lever, and it seems to work.

Come on and try.

The hidden faces of the stones in Alentejo

Sugestif granite outcrops, Macedos and Valada do Mato, both close to Early Neolithic settlements and menhirs.