The Neolithic period was the starting of a new era for humankind, the great revolution and evolution of the human condition and social behaviour. It was the time when us humans started to produce our own food, we moved from a society of hunter-gatherers to a society of farmers and started to domesticate animals. Agriculture was found and the necessity of storing food in containers to carry them in a safe manner and to let the food sufficiently protected from the various climate variations, also gave “birth” to the creation of ceramics. The human being began to settle in one place instead of being a constant nomad searching for food, creating their own food, which led to healthy food habits which in turn led to the growth of the population. As such, people started to create villages all over the world and taking with them this new way of life, teaching others about agriculture and having their own domesticated animals.
Portugal has always been one of the first places in Europe to accept these great evolutions, a place where thusands of cultures throughout history have settled and left behind their stories and their cultures. For many years people thought that the megalithic phenomenon in Portugal had a lo of influences from the other mediterranean countries, but in truth, it has more in common with the megalithic structures from the Atlantic countries ( in truth, Northern Portugal has Atlantic influences and the very climate is an atlantic climate ) such as Irland, Scotland, Wales and Britain, but also a lot of influences from Northern European countries and Central Europe Countries.
Giving this big introduction, I will tell you about the Archaeological excavations that took place in Alter which is on Alentejo in Portugal, inside a Stud farm from the VIII century and still working, and the Neolithic findings there, 15 years ago, were amazing and in that time, was something totally new in Archaeology.
People knew about the “death places” of the pré-historic peoples, their megalithic monuments and every thing involving the cult of the dead and the buildings where they placed them, so the question was, where did they live? In what did they live? Was it some kind of an house? an Hut? Well, indeed it was found a place where these people had lived for a period of time, since this was the time where agriculture and ceramics were something new, the findings were from the period where people were starting to settle in one place. It was found that these people already pave the ground of their dwellings, but the walls of these places were natural stone formations and the roof was made of natural elements such as wood. leafs etc. But as it is a place that when it rains… it rains a lot, they built channels around these shelters, for draining the water, the whole place was kept dry, in fact, during the excavations, it rained a lot, which made it difficult to work, and so that the archaeologists found and cleaned these drainage channels and after almost 6000 years these were still in perfect working order and helped a lot during the excavations in winter. What was also found, were the first ceramic works ever found which indicates that these people were not just evolved but wealthy and Ambar was also found, and from where does the Ambar comes? That is right, from the Baltic Sea, which means that these people from what would be later called Portugal, already had trading roots with the Norther peoples of Europe and vs versa, in a period of time before the Egyptians, whom also had Ambar almost 3000 years after the Neolithic peoples of Portugal.
Among the findings in this excavation, there was also one of the most ancient ovens of all time, with the base perfectly intact, this shows the mark of evolution and the first sedentarization process of the peoples of the Neolithic.
Now people knew how these people lived, but not during the entire year, only for an amount of time, but in that area, there was a lot of megalithic structures, and the remains in there weren’t all equal in the way of placing the deceased or preparing the body of the funeral rituals. Some remains were intact, meaning that the people died in the zone while they were living in there, other remains were inside a bag made of animal skin, with bones vwith isible marks on how the meat has been removed, post-mortem, leaving only the bone, which means that the person died away from the site, most likely during the commercials routes or elsewhere where they would live the other part of the year, and therefore the body was thus prepared for easy transportation by the family members and when the time came to return to the same place, the body could then be placed among the ancestors. Others were cremated, again for the easy transportation, others show that they were previously buried in temporary sites and then transferred to the place and some bones showned that they were cut in half and opened, again after-death, deliberately cut, no fault in the preparation of the body, for in that they did sa good job without damaging the bones, these bones were so cut open so that the inside of those, the marrow, could be eaten, a cannibalistic ritual, a very common thing in many cultures, the person that ate that, was absorbing the essence of the dead, to have a bit of it, and as so prolonging life.
One of my teachers of PreHistory and Archaeology said about this kind of ritual cannibalism, now this my shock some very christian folks, is that this practice has been around for thousands of years worldwide and it is still practiced nowadays in some places, and even Christ turning to his disciples Said, referring to the bread: “Take, eat, this is My body.” And, referring to the wine: “This is my blood” (Mt 26:26-28) and for three days no one heard of him anymore after his death, and after those three days he appeared, he was resurrected and ascended to heaven, this might be the symbolism of his soul that left the world and went to the afterlife, while in those three days, his disciples prepared his body, making the same cannibalistic rituals as Christ instructed them to do, by eating his body and his blood and having his own essence. Something to think about.
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