A group of stones in the forest show cup (or “cupule”) marks (the Portuguese term is covinhas, which translates as “dimples”). These are a distinctive prehistoric decoration technique. The carvings are seen on several stones: some are connected by grooves, and others form distinctive alignments or sets. The carvings have been investigated by archaeologists, but the time period in which they were created has not been determined yet. They rest in peace in the hills of central Portugal, an enigma to modern explorers. Was there a significance behind these carvings, or were they made purely for aesthetics?

The photos, location and information below were sent to us here at Prehistoric Portugal by one of our readers who lives in the area. He wrote:

In 1995 the Caperarte-Associacão de Castanheira de Pera reported the re-discovery in the site of Bragada. The two stones are in a schist outcrop consisting of 59 carved dimples, some joined by a channel , and associated with the sacred religious practices of the late Neolithic period . The Bragada site has been the subject of archaeological work in recent years and is registered with the IGESPAR since 2002, with the disposition of “ Lajedo”, as rock art of un designated period.

Many thanks for the information and photographs!


The rocks are between the villages of Vilar and Ameal, just outside Castanheira de Pera. It looks like a beautiful place to visit and go for a hike!


  • Article (in Portuguese) from local history book, “Coentral”
  • Description (in Portuguese) from Archaeological Portal of Directorate-General of Cultural Heritage


There is apparently a mamoa or mound in the area, near the town of Pisões. There are also other rock carvings and fossil sites in the region.

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