Anta das Pedras Altas

Sit on the hill and take in the vista of the Algarve countryside all around you. No town is near enough to hear. You might hear the birds, or possibly barking dogs, but mostly you’ll hear the wind. The dolmen enjoys this peace and quiet, and has done for thousands of years. The noise and disturbance you make is only a passing blip in the eons of peacefulness.

The anta (dolmen) dates back five or six thousand years, and apart from lacking its covering capstone is in quite good condition.

The information signboard has been sun damaged, with only the Portuguese panel being legible.

The Portuguese text can be translated as follows:

Megalithic funerary monument, dated from 4th to 3rd millennia BC which can be included in the group of Antas or Dólmens, although its plan, formed of 12 mainstays or large stones planted vertically, presents such an irregular arrangement which seems to depart from the most common types, deserving the classification of “pear shaped.” It represents an interior structure which separates between the chamber and the corridor. Two fronting stones seem to indicate an opening, which faces the rising sun. It was looted and several of its mainstays were removed in the 1940s, although some of its votive offerings, all stone objects, escaped and were collected in the course of scientific work conducted in the 1980s. These stone artifacts poste important cultural/historical questions which suggest the plausible hypothesis of seasonal migration served also as the vehicle of material exchange, at least at medium distance.

Arqueologia Algarve

Location

The anta is on a hill to the south of the town of Mealha, in the Tavira parish of the Algarve. The road is a dirt road, which is passable by any vehicle.

Access

About 1km south of Mealha, there is a right turn that heads uphill. It might be advisable to walk up this hill to the anta, rather than driving. This trail is about 300m uphill, but it’s not very steep.

Alternatively, there is a walking tour that includes the anta (link below).

Signage

The sign on the main road through Mealha is quite small. Look below the brown “Barragem” (Dam) sign for the hiking trail sign which says “Pedras Altas.” The road passes beside the old round houses (“Palheiros”) that Mealha is known for. About 1km from the town, there’s another sign that points out the turn-off to the right, which leads up the hill. The anta is about 300m along that road, right alongside the road.

Links

  • Entry (in English) from the Megalithic Portal
  • A walking tour (in English) from Walking in Algarve
  • Article (in Portuguese) from Wikipedia
  • Description (in Portuguese) from Archaeological Portal of Directorate-General of Cultural Heritage

Nearby

The Anta da Masmorra is nearby (north of Mealha), as is the Anta de Curral da Castelhana and the Tholos de Cerro de Malhanito.

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