The Sky above Almendres Cromlech

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The Cromlech of the Almendres megalithic complex (or Almendres Cromlech), located near Guadalupe, in the civil parish of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, municipality of Évora, is the largest existing group of structured menhirs in the Iberian Peninsula, and one of the largest in Europe. This archaeological site consists of several megalithic structures: cromlechs, and menhir stones

The construction of these structures date back to VI millennium B.C., and only rediscovered in 1966 by Henrique Leonor Pina. The construction phases, Almendres I date 6000 B.C and the Almendres II, date 5000 B.C Middle Neolithic. The relative chronology of the cromlech and menhirs is extremely complex and covers a period from the Neolithic to Chalcolithic, and it is believed that the monument had a religious/ceremonial purpose, or functioned as a primitive astronomical observatory.

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. ( Menhir 48, also exhibits a schematized anthropomorphic representation, surrouned by circles and associated with a crozier.


In the sky image, is visible the Orion Constellation above the stone circle, and the shadows of the stones projected in the land, due to the light of the moon which light up the landscape from the oposite site. Canon 50D – ISO 1250; f/4; Exp.30s 10mm em 20/12/2012 at 20:09


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