Meaning in the Cosmos
The ancient Portuguese built many tombs and megalithic structures
during the Neolithic period (from approximately 7000 BC to 2500 BC). Some
of these monuments are still standing in Portugal today.
A megalithic structure is an ancient monument made of large
stones. Megalith comes from Greek; "mega" means big and "lithos" means
stone. Many megaliths are oriented toward the places on the horizon
that the sun rises and sets during summer and winter
solstices. In fact, some megaliths were built in a position that
allows the rising sun to send its first rays into the depths
the chamber on the day of the winter solstice. Some also take
into account the extreme paths of the moon.
Experts studying the Alentejo Tombs in southern Portugal have
learned that all these tombs were built with an axis of symmetry
and a special "entrance" that faces the sunrise in
Researchers still do not know exactly why the Portuguese built
the megaliths. Many were used for burial grounds, and others
may have been built to mark
certain routes or for religious purposes.
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