Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Perdigoes as Woodhenge?

Via Ancient Origins.."Neolithic 'Woodhenge' Discovered at Perdigoes Complex Portugal"

and Live Science 

Daily Mail


I'm trying to separate the sensationalism and novelty of media blitzes from the actual sensational and new discoveries.  I've followed Perdigoes (Per-dig-gwah) for quite a while (sidebar), but not quite sure how much is new news.

What is clear is that Perdigoes began as a Neolithic structure, probably a religious center, and then of course in the Beaker Age is appropriated or re-organized toward new customs.  According to the Daily Mail article, the piling of timbers in a henge is more directly linked to the Beaker era, although it may not yet be clear if this was done by cultural Beakers or by people who hated Beakers.  Certainly the Beaker culture became prominent at this site, towards its end.

What is clear, as stated by Antonio Valera in the articles, is that these structures must have been built with some sort of intense communication, I might say even a common religion.

*update* So yes, it looks like there are another two outer circles of palisades, or weirdly almost like peiring.  Exactly what that looked like in Britain isn't know.  Most see them as kinds of primitive totems that are just piled into the ground in circular format.  A bunch of people with crazy eyes holding snakes.

Some see them as remnants of more sophisticated structures, perhaps piles for decking, seating or roofing.  Wouldn't it be messed up if the whole damn thing was a Neolithic/Bronze Age rodeo?

See also:

"Ritualized Ball Games in the Neolithic"


  1. The articles are quite muddled as regards dates.

    The points to note are:
    1. These henges did not seem to arise in Europe with the Neolithic, but at a later point during the Neolithic.
    2. The latter part of the Neolithic in Western Europe was accompanied by a mixing in of some Early European Farmer DNA that was accompanied by Eastern Hunter Gatherer but relatively little further Western or Caucasus Hunter Gatherer. This gives a clue as to its point of origin and to a possible catalyst for the development of henges.
    3. The Central European Bronze Agers arrived in force long afterwards, and their arrival seems to have coincided with Perdigoes falling out of use.

  2. Yeah the magazine article details usually have to be taken with a grain of salt. If you haven't already seen in the sidebar...

  3. Where do you stand on the idea that Gosek was a henge precursor?
    (Built in the late stage of Linear Pottery, in a sub-culture thought to be under Lengyel influence from the South East)

    1. These circular enclosures must be rather old. They probably originate in the Early Neolithic Near East or earlier, although some of these are rather primitive circles of rocks.

  4. Does this address the notion that what look like henges were really enclosed wood amphitheater type buildings of which only the bones remain?

  5. I don't know enough about it. Just wondering whether the wood and stone circles of all kinds and eras have a shared root and served a common purpose; and which kind of people might have originated them.
    (This latter question might be difficult to answer, as even early Linear Pottery Neolithics look to be of diverse origins, between one location and another.)

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  9. You might find interesting a paper from Booth & Bruck just published by Cambridge University Press - Death is not the end: radiocarbon and histo-taphonomic evidence for the curation and excarnation of human remains in Bronze Age Britain.

    (The phenomenon identified actually seems to stretch back to the Beaker period pre-dating the Bronze Age as well.)

  10. Thanks Nicholas! I'll check it out.

    Sorry about the hiatus guys. COVID life has been hectic the last two weeks,, things will settle down here in another week hopefully.