Fragments of a Neolithic Monument Discovered in Portugal

News August 29, 2023

(António Faustino Carvalho)
Portugal Menhir
(António Faustino Carvalho)

SÃO BRÁS DE ALPORTEL, PORTUGAL—Portugal Resident reports that the remains of a 5,500-year-old menhir were discovered in southern Portugal by a resident who was looking for fossils at the top of Monte do Trigo. Archaeologist António Faustino Carvalho of the University of the Algarve said that the stone monument is made of polished limestone in the same size and phallic shape as other Neolithic menhirs found in the West Algarve region. Carvalho and his colleagues excavated the area surrounding the monument, and found a few more pieces of it, but they are in poor condition. “Originally, it would have been vertical,” he explained, “and it would have fallen and landed here.” Menhirs may have been used to symbolize fertility, and were sometimes lined up to mark territory, passageways, or cattle crossings, he added. It is not clear at this time if this menhir was part of a larger structure. To read about 2,900-year-old Iberian steel tools, go to "Around the World: Portugal."

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