An enormous megalithic advanced of greater than 500 standing stones has been found in southern Spain that might be one of many largest in Europe, archaeologists have mentioned.
The stones had been found on a plot of land in Huelva, a province flanking the southernmost a part of Spain’s border with Portugal, close to the Guadiana River.
Spanning about 600 hectares (1,500 acres), the land had been earmarked for an avocado plantation. Earlier than granting the allow the regional authorities requested a survey in gentle of the location’s attainable archaeological significance. The survey revealed the presence of the stones.
“That is the largest and most various assortment of standing stones grouped collectively within the Iberian peninsula,” mentioned José Antonio Linares, a researcher at Huelva College and one of many venture’s three administrators. It was possible that the oldest standing stones on the La Torre-La Janera web site had been erected throughout the second half of the sixth or fifth millennium BC, he mentioned. “It’s a main megalithic web site in Europe.”
On the web site they discovered numerous varied forms of megaliths, together with standing stones, dolmens, mounds, coffin-like stone bins known as cists, and enclosures.
“Standing stones had been the commonest discovering, with 526 of them nonetheless standing or mendacity on the bottom,” mentioned the researchers in an article printed in Trabajos de Prehistoria, a prehistoric archaeology journal. The peak of the stones was between one and three metres.
On the Carnac megalithic web site in north-west France, there are about 3,000 standing stones.
One of the hanging issues was discovering such various megalithic components grouped collectively in a single location and discovering how properly preserved they had been, mentioned Primitiva Bueno, co-director of the venture and a prehistory professor at Alcalá College, close to Madrid.
“Discovering alignments and dolmens on one web site just isn’t quite common. Right here you discover all the things all collectively – alignments, cromlechs and dolmens – and that’s very hanging,” she mentioned, hailing the location’s “glorious conservation”.
An alignment is a linear association of upright standing stones alongside a standard axis, whereas a cromlech is a stone circle, and a dolmen is a sort of megalithic tomb normally fabricated from two or extra standing stones with a big flat capstone on high.
A lot 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.
Lots of the stones are buried deep within the earth. They are going to have to be rigorously excavated. The work is scheduled to run till 2026, however “between this yr’s marketing campaign and the beginning of subsequent yr’s, there might be part of the location that may be visited”, Bueno mentioned.