Circular henge monuments can be found right across Europe, with famous examples being Stonehenge and Avebury in England as well as the enormous woodhenge in Germany, which I did a video about recently.
It seems as though one culture spread its ideas right across the ancient Neolithic world and although circular monuments go back to the very distant past, as seen at Gobekli Tepe, it seems that between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago, circular henge monuments were a popular construction in ancient Europe.
Nobody can say with any certainty what henge monuments were built for. There is archaeoastronomical evidence to say they were used to chart or map objects in the night sky, some say they were ritualistic and centres of worship, some say they were community centres, others say they were sites of punishment, like ancient gallows, but they could also have had an agricultural use.
And this brings us to a new discovery in Portugal, a country that has never featured on Ancient Architects before so I’m glad to make this video.
The discovery of a woodhenge has been made at a well-known archaeological complex called Perdigões. The entire complex was first found in the 1980s but was forgotten and then rediscovered in 1996.
Situated in southeast Portugal, It’s a 16-acre enclosure of concentric ditches dug into the bedrock, dating to between 3,500 and 2,000 BC, giving it the same longevity as Stonehenge. It had openings pointing directly to sunrise on the summer and winter solstices. Experts believe it was a ritual landscape, likely associated with death rites and rebirth.
Amazing artefacts have been unearthed at the site as well as a number of funerary structures and thousands of human remains and there is a fantastic 3 minutes video on the site, which I’ve linked below in the description.
The new woodhenge discovery is found within the Perdigões complex and nothing like it has ever been found in Portugal before. It’s approximately 5,000 years old – dating to the Middle Neolithic Period and the woodhenge was situated right in the centre of the archaeological complex.
Watch the video to learn more!
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