Monday, February 12, 2007

The Bend of the Raia

Close to the town of Mora (Central Alentejo) we find another cluster of pre-historic setllements and ritual sites apparently in connection with the bend of the Raia.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Scale does matter

Pannels with hemicycles in Northumberland (UK)

The hemicycle (or horse-shoe) seems to be present, at different levels, in prehistoric carvings, buildings and landscapes.

Differently from the topographic model, which accepts the idea that some rock art motifs are like plans or maps of buildings or field limits
The hemicycle in the landscape is, like the bends of the rivers/serpents, often connected with important ritual prehistoric sites.
The hemicycle, open to SE, connected with the Almendres
megalithic enclosure (Alvim, 2006)
The hemicycle related with the Carnac/Locmariaquer monuments
The hemicycle (green) centering the Xerez megalithic enclosure

Building Symbols in Alentejo

Vale d'El Rei megalithic enclosure

Er-Lannic megalithic enclosures

Stonehenge megalithic enclosure

The C (or horseshoe) plan of sites like Águas Frias (or Poverty Point) is also the usual setting of megalithic enclosures, in Central Alentejo and Brittany.

Rare in the British Islands, is also displayed on the unique site of Stonehenge; this has been argued to reveal some kind of relationship between Stonehenge and the Continental Europe, on Neolithic times.

Building symbols in Alentejo

The Late Neolithic settlement of Aguas Frias, in Central Alentejo, seems to display a symbolic architectonic plan which could be interpreted as a sintesis of the same symbols displayed on the two mississipian sites showed on the last posts: the semi-circular plan of the earthworks in Poverty Point and the snake-like plan of Serpent Mound.

Águas Frias has been interpreted as a settlement site, though it showed a very unique caracteristic which gives an extra symbolic dimension to the site: it is the only known "factory" of the highly symbolic shist plaques that caracterize the deposits in the alentejan dolmens (as well as in the areas around Alentejo).

Where are the limits between a settlement and a ritual site?

Building symbols

Old plan of the Serpent Mound

The Serpent Mound

Old plan of another serpent mound

Aligator Mound

Again in the USA, in the Mississipian world, the biggest representation of an almost universal icon: the serpent.
Note that the Serpent Mound describes a hemicycle, open to a small river.

In the same general area we can find other earthworks displaying animals.

Some related links: [link]

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Building symbols

The earthworks of Poverty Point, an ancient ritual site, with a set of concentric ditches and banks, drawing a semi-circular plan. The enclosure opens to a bend of the sinuous Mississipi River.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Bend of the Lucefece

Location of the site

The Rocha da Mina outcrop

The stairs

The well

Depiction of a zig-zag/undulating line, on the Alqueva pannels of Retorta

Rocha da Mina (Alandroal) is a pré-roman sanctuary, eventually devoted to the celtic god Endovellicus, with some rock cut features, such as a stair, a well and an altar.

The location of this santuary, in a difficult landscape, seems tighly related to a bend of the River Lucefece.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Bends of the Guadiana

The importance, for the prehistoric mind - in what respects the implantation of sacred sites - of the bends of the rivers, showed on two major european ritual sites (see the two previous posts), is very well exemplified on the Alqueva rock art. Actually, the most important concentrations of carvings are located close to the two major curves of the Guadiana river, called, in portuguese, respectively, the Moinho da Volta and Retorta, both refering to the acentuated bends of the river.

The Bend of the Boyne

The Bend of the Boyne is a extraordinary megalithic complex, in Ireland, the biggest concentration of megalithic art in Europe, Three main monuments (Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth), and other smaller elements, integrate this very defined megalithic landscape.

The name of the area relates to the waving course of the Boyne River.