Host institution: University of Aveiro (PT)
Contact person: Alice Tavares Costa
The Dólmen de Antelas is in the municipality of Oliveira de Frades, Viseu district, in the Center of Portugal, being classified as a National Monument. The Dólmen de Antelas is a monument listed as integration of a Megalithic Route that includes 24 megalithic monuments at the centre of Portugal.
The Dolmen is probably the most well-known Portuguese dolmen internationally, and is undoubtedly a primary example of world-painted megalithic art. There is no other known megalithic monument with such a large collection of preserved painted motifs. Its importance is mainly due to the fact of displaying paintings in red and black inside the funeral chamber.
The paintings were first uncovered in 1956 because of the archaeological excavations directed by L. Albuquerque and Castro, O. Da Veiga Ferreira and A. Viana.
- Luís de Albuquerque e Castro, O. V. Ferreira, A. Viana: O Dólmen Pintado de Antelas (Oliveira de Frades). In: Comunicações dos Serviços Geológicos de Portugal. Band 38, 1957, ISSN0037-2730, S. 325–346.
These same archaeologists, conscious of the importance of their finding and of their inability to preserve such valuable assets, chose to cover the monument to preserve the paintings. These would only see the light of day almost 40 years later because of an intervention that allowed to make the dolmen visitable. The Dólmen de Antelas is structured on a polygonal chamber and corridor that chronologically is inserted in the oldest moment of the regional megalithism, at the end of the V millennium/beginning of IV the millennium b. C.