Geoparque Villuercas > CULTURAL SITES > 06-DOLMENS

Megaliths are monuments constructed from large stones, which is what the name means. In the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Global Geopark of the UNESCO dolmens are good examples of these, in particular that of Deleitosa and that of La Coraja in Aldeacentenera. The remains are the most long-lasting traces of a system of beliefs and social organisation which originated between the fourth and third millennia B.C., which even today is highly enigmatic to science. These stone constructions are scattered over much of Europe and are of special relevance in the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula.

During the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic periods in what is now Extremadura there was a considerable expansion of the population of human communities. This was related to the increase in agricultural production and food surplus. Everything points to the fact that the exploitation of the landscape was part of an agricultural, stockbreeding, and forestry system, and according to the archaeological evidence the landscape where those ancient societies lived cannot have been very different from the dehesas of Extremadura we know today, alternating with cereal crops.

Progress in the use of the territory during the breakthrough of the Neolithic brought with it a more complex and hitherto unknown society. The nomadic communities of hunter-gatherers who had previously inhabited the area were replaced with others of sedentary farmers and stockbreeders. This culture constructed dolmens and erected menhirs for more than a millennium and some three hundred are currently known in Extremadura.

The dolmen, the most frequent megalith to be found in Extremadura, is a monument built with stone slabs. It has a collective funeral purpose and four different types have been described depending on its size and whether there is a corridor.

The so-called Dolmen de Deleitosa is a tumulus with a double-ring corridor. It is located near Deleitosa at the foot of the Sierra de la Breña. Although it has not been excavated it is thought to belong to the late Bronze Age. This dolmen has a peculiarity which is rarely found: its corridor does not lie on an east-west axis but on a south-southeast axis.

In Aldeacentenera stands the corridor dolmen of La Coraja, some of the orthostats (vertical stone blocks or slabs which form the wall of the dolmen) of which show symbolic engravings. It is found in what was a Vetton fortified settlement and makes use of one of the houses as a wall for its construction.

There is another dolmen in Cañamero, although it is beneath the waters of the Cancho del Fresno Reservoir. It has an anthromorphous representation known as the Idol of Cañamero.

Other dolmens in the Geopark are that of La Nava in Berzocana and that of Logrosán; these are small in size but some of their orthostats are decorated.