Yesterday we had an extraordinary experience. We went with an archaeologist, Mario Carvalho, to 3 neolithic sites near Evora. Imagine an elliptical arrangement of granite stones, a centre line through the ellipse alligned to sunrise at the equinox. It was one of those sites that reveal so much about human beings and their relationships to place over a long period. To have observed over time the sun’s passage across the sky and to have created a monumental observatory to that, 7000 years ago (before Stonehenge)… John said, in wonder, Sunrise! How fitting, Theirs (and ours).
We also visited the Dolmen of Zambujeiro which dates from the late Neolithic period. As Mario explained, the time relationship between it and the standing stones is like ours to to the Romans. So I thought of the temple to Augustus in Evora and how I felt rounding a corner last Saturday morning and just seeing it there in its beauty and how, standing at the mouth of a passage grave in a quiet grove of cork oaks in the Alentejo countryside, I thought of how everything is now. In the heat of the morning, tiny lizards skittered across the broken capstone and nearby, black pigs fed on acorns as they have done for centuries.
We took the bus to Lisbon in the afternoon and following a complicated route through narrow streets we arrived at our apartment where we’ll spend the next four days.