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20 September 2011
Stone with 1,200 prehistoric engravings uncovered in Portugal

Recent archaeological investigations in northern Portugal have uncovered a number of prehistoric sites and artefacts, including rock art and engravings at Laje da Churra in the Serra de Santa Luzia near Viana do Castelo. An archaeologist working for ENARDAS, which is coordinating the project, said that the flat stone discovered around 40 years ago in Carreço parish, is today one of the most important artefacts with engravings.
     "We are talking about a flat stone, from which our investigation has identified 1,200 engraving motifs, when initially only around 10 were identified. And the stone is broken, which gives us an idea of the size it could have been in prehistory," said Ana Bettencourt. She estimates that the site where the stone was discovered could have been used as a sacred place from as early as 3,000 or 4,000 BCE. "We don't know exactly when the place became sacred or symbolic, for people. But it was used by various communities until the Iron Age," she said.
     Aside from the flat stone and engravings of horses, weapons and boats have also been unearthed at the site.
     Laje da Churra is one of 10 sites of interest that have been identified since May by archaeologists working in the Serra de Santa Luzia on a project promoted by specialists from Minho University due to last until 2013. The aim of this project is to study prehistoric remains from between 5,000 and 1,000 BCE, making an inventory and studying places with burial rock art and metal deposits.

Edited from The Portugal News Onlone (17 September 2011)

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