Vale Maria do Meio Cromlech

Nestled in a cork oak forest, the stones stand in an elongated group. The hot breeze blows past them and through the trees, making the leaves tremble and rustle slightly. That’s the only sound you hear, along with the buzz of insects. The stones reflect the intense Alentejo sun, giving off their own heat. They have stood here for thousands of years and will be here forever. Or is that a fact?

This cromeleque, or stone circle, was only “discovered” in 1993, and was excavated by Manuel Calado and students from the University of Lisbon in 1994. The stone arrangement had seemingly been demolished by the millennia of agriculture in the area (possibly dating back to Roman times). The cromeleque was restored, righting fallen stones during the excavation. The site was only given protection and declared a national monument in 2013.

Some of the stones have carvings, including circles and crescents, similar to other cromeleques nearby. The cromeleque is oriented East-West, with the largest stones at the western & highest end.



Access is very easy. You can drive right up to the cromlech, and then walk around the stones freely.


From Évora, you head out on the R114-4 and then turn onto the N370. (Follow the sign for “Recintos Megaliticos” – megalithic sites.) After 2km, there’s a very clear sign on the N370 that directs you up the dirt track that leads to the cromlech.



There are many sites nearby, including the Cromlech of Pórtela do Mogo and the two Antas of Valeira. These are on private land, but are on a “Megalithic Circuit” which indicates that they are accessible. Unlocked gates allow access, but should be left in the same state they are found. Note that the red and white signs also indicate hunting routes. (Be careful of hunting days – wear the high-viz vest from your car!) You should ask permission if you see the landowners.

Featured image by Eduardo Lima:


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