Neolithic Sites in Western Europe
Images and Ritual Meanings


Alcalar, Portimao, Portugal

This is a view of the passage tomb at Alcalar, near Portimao, Portugal. The site dates to the third millennium b.c.e. and was first excavated in 1880. The passage tomb is part of a settlement that stretches more than 10 hectares, and is located on a hillock overlooking the Torre River. The nearest town is Mexilhoeira Grande, about five kilometers away. This tomb is part of a necropolis that consists of around twenty sepulchres. It is distinguished by its form, called a tholoi, which is a round central chamber entered by a narrow passageway. The central chamber is constructed of stones that are corbeled as they near the roof. The entire site is a cairn, with a finely shaped retaining wall made of stones stacked vertically up to four feet high around the base of the passage tomb. This site is now an offical archaeological site with an interpretive center and fenced perimeter. Very worth seeing.

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