The 3D model of Menga was drawn with AutoCAD, showing the biofacies (microfacies) present in the stones. The fourth pillar, currently missing, has been added, while capstones C-2, C-3, C-4, and C-5 have been removed in order to show the interior of the monument (Lozano Rodríguez et al.25). (a) Pillar P-3 with examples of biofacies (a1–a3 observed in hand specimen). (b) Orthostat O-15 with examples of biofacies (b1–b4 observed petrographically) and in hand specimen (b5). (c) Orthostat O-8 with examples observed petrographically (crossed polars) (c1,c2). (d) Orthostat O-5 with examples observed through the petrographic microscope (d1,d2). The star-shaped symbol indicates the place where a section was made for the petrographic study—Qtz: Quartz (designations after Kretz,49).
Topics: Applied Physics, Archaeology, Dark Humor, History
The technical and intellectual capabilities of past societies are reflected in the monuments they were able to build. Tracking the provenance of the stones utilized to build prehistoric megalithic monuments through geological studies is of utmost interest for interpreting ancient architecture as well as contributing to their protection. According to the scarce information available, most stones used in European prehistoric megaliths originate from locations near the construction sites, which would have made transport easier. The Menga dolmen (Antequera, Malaga, Spain), listed in UNESCO World Heritage since July 2016, was designed and built with stones weighing up to nearly 150 tons, thus becoming the most colossal stone monument built in its time in Europe (c. 3800–3600 BC). Our study (based on high-resolution geological mapping as well as petrographic and stratigraphic analyses) reveals key geological and archaeological evidence to establish the precise provenance of the massive stones used in the construction of this monument. These stones are mostly calcarenites, a poorly cemented detrital sedimentary rock comparable to those known as 'soft stones' in modern civil engineering. They were quarried from a rocky outcrop located at a distance of approximately 1 km. In this study, it can be inferred the use of soft stone in Menga reveals the human application of new wood and stone technologies, enabling the construction of a monument of unprecedented magnitude and complexity.
The provenance of the stones in the Menga dolmen reveals one of the greatest engineering feats of the Neolithic. Scientific Reports, Nature
José Antonio Lozano Rodríguez, Leonardo García Sanjuán, Antonio M. Álvarez-Valero, Francisco Jiménez-Espejo, Jesús María Arrieta, Eugenio Fraile-Nuez, Raquel Montero Artús, Giuseppe Cultrone, Fernando Alonso Muñoz-Carballeda & Francisco Martínez-Sevilla