An enormous megalithic complicated of greater than 500 standing stones has been found in southern Spain which could possibly be one of many largest in Europe, archaeologists informed AFP Thursday.
The stones had been found on a plot of land in Huelva, a province which flanks the southernmost a part of Spain’s border with Portugal, close to the Guadiana River.
Spanning some 600 hectares (1,500 acres), the land had been earmarked for an avocado planation.
However earlier than granting the allow, the regional authorities requested a survey in mild of the location’s potential archaeological significance – and revealed the presence of the stones.
“That is the most important and most various assortment of standing stones grouped collectively within the Iberian peninsula,” mentioned Jose Antonio Linares, a researcher at Huelva College and one of many undertaking’s three administrators.
It’s possible that the oldest standing stones on the La Torre-La Janera website had been erected throughout the second half of the sixth or fifth millennium BCE, he mentioned.
“It’s a main megalithic website in Europe,” he mentioned.
On the website, they discovered numerous numerous kinds of megaliths, together with standing stones, dolmens, mounds, coffin-like stone containers known as cists, and numerous enclosures.
“Standing stones had been the most typical discovering, with 526 of them nonetheless standing or mendacity on the bottom,” mentioned the researchers in an article revealed in Trabajos de Prehistoria, a prehistoric archaeology journal within the Iberian Peninsula.
The peak of the stones was between one and three metres (3-10 toes).
At Carnac in northwestern France, which is among the most well-known megalithic websites on the planet, there are some 3,000 standing stones.
Some of the hanging issues was discovering such various megalithic components grouped collectively in a single location and the way effectively preserved they had been, mentioned Primitiva Bueno, co-director of the undertaking and a prehistory professor at Alcala College close to Madrid.
“Discovering alignments and dolmens on one website just isn’t quite common,” she informed AFP.
“Right here you discover every little thing all collectively: alignments, cromlechs and dolmens and that’s very hanging,” she mentioned, hailing the location’s “wonderful conservation”.
An alignment is a linear association of upright standing stones alongside a typical axis, whereas a cromlech is a stone circle and a dolmen is a kind of megalithic tomb often product of two or extra standing stones with a big flat ‘capstone’ on prime.
Many of the menhirs had been grouped into 26 alignments and two cromlechs, each situated on hilltops with a transparent view to the east for viewing the dawn throughout the summer time and winter solstices and the spring and autumn equinoxes, the researchers mentioned.
Most of the stones are buried deep within the earth.
They may have to be rigorously excavated with the work scheduled to run till 2026 however “between this 12 months’s marketing campaign and the beginning of subsequent 12 months’s, there shall be part of the location that may be visited”, Bueno mentioned.
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