The remains of mysterious timber circles believed to be at least 4,500 years old have been found in the Perdigões complex archaeological site in the Évora district in southern Portugal. Archaeologists excavating the site discovered the series of monoliths, which they have called ‘timber circles’ and were constructed at the end of the Stone Age, roughly the same time Stonehenge in the UK was constructed.

The team of diggers also found evidence in the area that the structure was used for religious and ritual purposes as a number of sacrificial deposits have been found at the site.

António Valera, head of the excavation, are still unearthing the site, but believe it was also used for social gatherings and was about 66 feet (20 meters) in diameter.

Mr Valera told Live Science: “We interpret it as a ceremonial place and prefer to refer to it as timber circles.”

Recently, researchers have revealed there was a second neolithic monument near to Stonehenge.

Fieldwork has revealed evidence of a 1.2 mile (2km) wide circle of large shafts measuring more than 10m in diameter and 5m deep.

The shafts surround the ancient settlement of Durrington Walls, two miles (3km) from Stonehenge.

Tests suggest the groundworks are Neolithic and were made more than 4,500 years ago.

Archaeological experts believe the 20 or more shafts may have served as a boundary to a sacred area connected to Stonehenge.

A team of academics from the universities of St Andrews, Birmingham, Warwick, Glasgow and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David worked on the archaeological project.

Dr Richard Bates, from St Andrews’ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said: “Remote sensing and careful sampling is giving us an insight to the past that shows an even more complex society than we could ever imagine.

“Clearly sophisticated practices demonstrate that the people were so in tune with natural events to an extent that we can barely conceive in the modern world.”

Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist for the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, hailed the “astonishing discovery”.

She said: “As the place where the builders of Stonehenge lived and feasted Durrington Walls is key to unlocking the story of the wider Stonehenge landscape, and this astonishing discovery offers us new insights into the lives and beliefs of our Neolithic ancestors.

“The Hidden Landscapes team have combined cutting-edge, archaeological fieldwork with good old-fashioned detective work to reveal this extraordinary discovery and write a whole new chapter in the story of the Stonehenge landscape.”

Source: Read Full Article