Archaeologists have discovered a mysterious stone roundel in Prague that is older than Stonehenge and the pyramids
A mysterious stone roundel recently discovered in Prague is older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, built around 7,000 years ago during the Stone Age. Its purpose remains unknown.
“The roundels are the oldest architectural evidence in all of Europe,” Jaroslav Řídký, from the Institute of Archeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, told Radio Prague International.
The circular Neolithic structure is 180 feet wide – as wide as the Leaning Tower of Pisa is tall – and has three entrances. Construction workers first discovered the historic roundel in the 1980s, when they were laying gas and water pipes on the outskirts of the city in the Vinoř district.
It has only just been unearthed in its entirety, revealing the remains of its wooden palisade, or defensive wall, surrounding the structure.
“Rockets were built in the Stone Age, when people had not yet discovered iron. The only tools they could use were made of stone and animal bones,” said Miroslav Kraus , who oversaw the excavations, told Radio Prague International “It could have been used as an economic center, a center of trade. It could also have been the center of a religious cult, where rites of passage or rituals related at the time of year were practiced.
Little is known about the people who built the roundel, but they were part of the Caressed Pottery culture, active from around 4900 BCE to 4400 BCE, Řídký told Live Science.
The same people, who lived in communal lodges in agricultural villages, built other roundels in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. Some 200 examples of the architectural form have been spotted across central and eastern Europe, with the German circle of Goseck being the oldest ever found, dating to 4900 BCE. Drone aerial photography has helped researchers identify other examples of roundels over the past few decades.
Excavations of the recently excavated roundel revealed pottery fragments, animal bones and stone tools in the embankment of the ditch. Archaeologists hope carbon dating can tell us more about the structure, pinpointing a more exact date of construction and determining whether it is linked to a nearby Neolithic settlement.
So far, radiocarbon testing of samples of the structure has reduced the construction period from 4900 BCE to 4600 BCE. This is the entire known period that the roundels were constructed, after which they disappeared from historical records as mysteriously as they entered.
See more photos of the Vinoř roundel below.
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