Origins of architecture: the megaliths

Origins of architecture: the megaliths

For hundreds of thousands of years man was nomad, it lacked a fixed shelter and traveled wide spaces in search of food. The invention of agriculture It was a change of life for our ancestors, who were forced to stay permanently in a place waiting for the harvest.

Nomadism had come to an end, and sedentarism was reinforced by the climatic changes typical of the Neolithic. Hunting is no longer a necessary pursuit to be just another activity. With raising and caring for farm animals, the nomadic lifestyle is completely left behind. In this era of constant and decisive changes for humanity, the first buildings and the first towns emerged.

Prehistoric studies have revealed the importance of Neolithic cults, among which those that pay homage to the dead stand out. This cult has left its mark on the oldest surviving constructions, the megaliths, funerary monuments built by huge stone blocks distributed in a more or less geometric way. Its existence implies an advanced religious culture and a complex social structure, since its construction requires coordinated forms of work under a command figure that is in charge of directing collective life.

The simplest megalith is the menhir, a single piece of stone nailed vertically to the ground. The menhir of Locmariaquer (France), it reaches twenty meters in height. It is usual to place them in an orderly way: in the alignments they are placed in a row and in the cromlechs in a circle, like stonehenge (England).

The most complex megalith is the dolmen, a combined grave that in some cases also has a corridor and a chamber covered with a false dome. This is how those from the South of Spain the caves of Menga and El Romeral in Antequera (Malaga).

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In the Balearic Islands Megalithic constructions of later times have been discovered, the majority corresponding to the Bronze Age. Monuments like the taula, T-shaped megalith that was probably used to flesh corpses, the talayots, which served as defensive turrets used as surveillance systems and the shuttle, whose name is due to its inverted ship shape that also had funerary uses, are some of the relics of our past that are still preserved in Spain.

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