Possibly a Primitive Astronomical Observatory:
Known popularly as the “hill of the stone amphorae”, the Cromlech of Almendres is one of the earliest and most ancient megalithic complexes known to mankind. Situated in a cork grove near Guadalupe, west of the historic city of Évora, it is the largest existing group of structured menhirs in the Iberian Peninsula and one of the largest in Europe.
The Almendres Cromlech was discovered as late as 1964. Today the cromlech contains around 95 elliptical stones (menhirs), some of them decorated with engravings.
Built around 7,000 years ago, in the late Neolithic period, its oval plan is believed to be the result of additions and modifications throughout time. Originally, it had a horseshoe structure, open to the east, similar to other known megalithic enclosures in the region.
Although the exact function of the Almendres Cromlech is not known, it is believed that the monument had religious purposes and functioned as a primitive astronomical observatory. Recent archaeological data suggested that the disposition and implantation of some of the monoliths coincide with basic astronomic elements of the sun and moon in marking the equinoxes and the solstices.
On the other hand, some of the decorative elements and the anthropmorphic schematisation of the menhirs could suggest, on a monumental scale, the first sculptural representation of tutelary entities or even the most ancient lineages of power.
The sun was just setting in the horizon when we arrived, making photography of the cromlech a little difficult. Some people today still believe the site to be religious and a group were practising their rituals during our visit.