Friday, July 5, 2013

0195 – Necropolis and ditched enclosures

One of the outstanding monuments of the Alcalar peripheral necropolis.

One of the particularities of large ditched enclosures in south Portugal (and south Spain) is the presence, especially during the chalcolithic, of peripheral necropolis, sometimes organized in clusters, with large funerary monuments, namely tholoi. In Alentejo we have them documented in Perdigões and Porto Torrão, and suspected in Salvada and Monte das Cabeceiras 2. But the most monumental ones are surrounding the ditched enclosure of Alcalar in Algarve. Although they don’t reach the monumentality of some monuments of Andalucia (like the ones of Valencina de la Concepción or Antequera), they are impressive anyway.

The way these monuments were articulated with the ditched enclosures is still not clear. In fact, most of these enclosures are not clear themselves, namely in their plans. At Perdigões, however, we have a little more information about that relation. It seems now that the two tholoi already excavated were initially outside the enclosed area. Latter they were enclosed by the outside ditched, that makes a particular turn to embrace them, and one was reused.

But the specific relations between the dynamics of use of enclosures and the dynamics of use of the surrounding monuments is still badly documented and insufficiently researched. So speculation prevails.   

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