Start \ Classification of attractions and landmarks \

Megaliths, cairns, petroforms

Outstanding megalithic monuments and petroforms

Stonehenge, United Kingdom
Stonehenge, United Kingdom / , CC-BY-SA-2.0

Europe

Carnac stone settings, France
Carnac stone settings, France / Kamel15, Wikimedia Commons, GNU-GPL-3.0

Some of the best known megaliths are located in Europe:

  • Stonehenge - England, Great Britain. One of the most popular archaeological monuments in the world, consisting of a group of large standing stones in a circular setting, erected sometimes around 2500 BC (?). Located in the middle of dense complex of archaeological monuments.
  • Avebury - England, Great Britain. Another highly popular megalithic site consisting of henge and several stone circles.
  • Callanish standing stones - Scotland, Great Britain. One of the most impressive arrangements of standing stones, created sometimes around 2900 - 2600 BC.
  • Ring of Brodgar - Scotland, Great Britain. Circle of standing stones inside of henge. Made sometimes at 2500 - 2000 BC.
  • La Hougue Bie - Jersey, Great Britain. One of the most impressive passage graves with an 18.6 metres long chamber, under a 12.2 metres high earthen mound. Developed sometimes around 4000 - 3500 BC.
  • Newgrange - Louth, Ireland. Most famous megalithic site in Ireland: a tomb hill, 76 metres wide and 12 metres high with a passage grave built between 5500 - 3200 BC. Renowned due to its astronomic positioning: at the dawn of winter solstice day Sun shines through the 18 metre long passage.
  • Carnac stones - Brittany, France. Largest group of standing stones in world with more than 3 000 stones. Erected sometimes around 3300 BC.
  • Grand Menhir of Locmariaquer (Broken Menhir of Er Grah) - Brittany, France. Largest known menhir in world: was 20,6 metres high, erected sometimes around 4700 BC, now fallen.
    Tarxien temple, Malta
    Tarxien temple with stone bowl, Malta / Taty2007, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-3.0
  • Gavrinis tomb - Brittany, France. Impressive passage grave with some of the best megalithic art on its slabs
  • Ale's Stones (Ales stenar) - Scania, Sweden. A stone ship 67 metres long, one of the largest.
  • Almendres Cromlech - Évora, Portugal. Largest megalithic site in Iberian peninsula, consisting of impressive circular stone settings and separate menhirs. Stones ornamented, developed in 5000 - 4000 BC.
  • Ggantija, Ħaġar Qim, Mnajdra, Tarxien - Southern Region, Malta. Very impressive temple complexes, some of the oldest temples in world, developed around 3600 - 3200 BC.
  • Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni - Southern Region, Malta. The only known underground temple of prehistoric times (besides nearby Xagħra Stone Circle in Gozo Island).
  • Zhane river dolmens - Krasnodar Krai, Russia. Some of the most unusual and most elaborate dolmens known.

Asia

Rujm el Hiri
Rujm El Hiri, Syria / אסף.צ, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • Trilithon of Baalbek - Beqaa, Lebanon. Here a later Roman temple is built over some of the largest prehistoric man made stone blocks weighing over 750 tons each. Nearby lies around 1200 tons heavy stone block.
  • Göbekli Tepe - Şanlıurfa Province, Turkey. The oldest place of worship in the world (the 10th millenium BC, late Mesolithic - early Neolithic) has several monolithic stone pillars, up to 3 meters in height with carved reliefs and pictograms.
  • Rujm-el-Hiri - Quneitra, Syria. Enormous megalithic monument consisting of several concentric stone rings with more than 42 000 basalt rocks.
  • Plain of Jars, Site 1 - Xiangkhouang Province, Laos. One of the most impressive sites of enormous, up to 3 metres high stone jars (in total more than 400 sites known), possibly used as funeral urns roughly at 0 - 500 AD.
  • Gochang Dolmens - Jeollabuk (North Jeolla), South Korea. Some of the most impressive of the numerous South Korean dolmens, capstones weigh up to 225 tons. Nearby are other impressive megaliths.
  • Karahunj (Zorats Karer) - Syunik province, Armenia. Megalithic necropolis from the 3rd - 2nd millenia BC (?). Contains a ring of upright stones. Many standing stones have holes in the upper ends. According to some researchers the site served as astronomical observatory.
  • Asuka megaliths - Nara, Japan. Largest megaliths in Japan, moved up to 300 - 500 tons heavy blocks. Complex of this unique monument developed over long time period.
  • Uushigiin Uver - Khentii province, Mongolia. One of the most impressive groups of Deer stones and other monuments. 14 standing stones with beautiful carved deer on their surfaces. Constructed in 1000 BC (?).
  • Ono Limbu village - Nias Island, North Sumatra, Indonesia. In this traditional village, like in many others on this island, enormous stones still serve to construction and ceremonial uses.
    Samosir, Batak ceremonial site
    Samosir, Batak ceremonial site. Northern Sumatra, Indonesia / T.Bachner, Wikimedia Commons, public domain
  • Batak stone chairs in Samosir - north-east of Samosir Island, Toba Lake, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Approximately 300 years old ancient ceremonial court site, in service up to recent times.
  • Megaliths of Bada Valley - Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. In this pristine valley there are scattered impressive ancient stone statues and kalamba, enormous stone cisterns.
  • Padang Hill - West Jawa, Indonesia. Largest concentration of megalithic stones in Southeast Asia, consisting of thousands of stone blocks.
  • Marupu of Anakalang - Sumba Island, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Largest complex of dolmens - burials (marupu) in Sumba. Sumba Island is very rich in enormous, often heavily ornamented dolmens serving for ceremonial traditions up to this day.

Africa

Stone circle, Senegal
Stone circle in Senegal / , CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Nabta stone circle - New Valley, Egypt. Stone setting in a form of circle, made sometimes around 4800 BC, possibly the oldest archaeoastronomical monument in world
  • Msoura - Tangier-Tétouan, Morocco. Impressive stone circle with 167 standing stones up to 5 metres high.
  • Djalloumbéré and Wassu stone circles - Senegal and Gambia. This is a group of 52 stone circles with more than 1000 standing stones, erected mostly in between 640 - 860 AD.

North America

  • Medicine Wheel of Bighorn National Forest - Wyoming, United States. Petroform - stone setting resembling an enormous spiked wheel. This ceremonial structure was constructed by Native Indians.
  • The Diquis Spheres - Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Very unusual monument - perfectly round stone spheres, some up to 16 tons in weight. This is an ancient monument, although exact timing and culture are unknown.
  • Inuksuk Point (Enukso Point) - Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada. A group of over 100 vertical stone settings, serving as navigation and reference points.

South America

Statues in San Agustin, Colombia
Statues in San Agustin, Colombia / Amazonia Virtual, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • San Agustín - Huila, Colombia. Impressive group of megaliths from AD 100 - 1200, some up to 4 metres tall. The numerous large sized sculptures have a high art value.
  • Sacsayhuamán - Cusco, Peru. One of the most impressive complexes of megalithic walls with blocks up to 120 - 200 tons heavy: possibly built by Kilke culture between 900 - 1200 AD.
  • Calçoene megalithic observatory - Amazon Stonehenge - Amapá, Brazil. Pre-Columbian structure - a circle marked with 127 blocks of granite, stones up to 3 metres high.

Oceania

Stone money of Yap
Stone money of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia / E.Guinther, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • Ahu Tongariki and numerous other megaliths on Rapa Nui, Chile. The little island of Rapa Nui hosts some of the most impressive and interesting megaliths of the world - many shaped like a standing man (moai). The largest standing moai is on Ahu Tongariki - it weighs 86 tons.
  • Ha'amonga 'a Maui - Tongatapu, Tonga. An unusual, giant trilithon, which was built in the early 13th century. Stones of this structure rise up to 5.2 m high.
  • Rai of Yap - Yap Island, Federated States of Micronesia. Limestone discs with a hole in the middle, diameter up to 3.6 metres. Stone discs have been used as money for centuries here, but enormous discs were produced with the arrival of Europeans in the middle of the 19th century.

Some Internet resources

  • Stone Pages - one of the oldest and most respected (at least by me) pages on the subject of megaliths. Main focus on Western Europe - but "news" section provides rich material about whole world!
  • The Modern Antiquarian - thousands of meghalitic sites from many locations in Europe, good quality pictures!
  • Megaliths.net - one might disagree with views of author Andis Kaulins but - there are presented so many monuments from whole world!
  • The Meghalitic Portal - highly recommended due to information about lots of monuments around the world... but, oh man, navigation of this site is confusing! (Oct 2009)
  • Dolmenes y Megalitos del Mundo (in Spanish) - wonderful blog about megaliths of the world.
  • Steinkreise - Menhire - Dolmen - Ancient Stones (for most part in German) - oldfashioned but pretty informative site about Western European megaliths.

Other articles

Map of described megaliths

Your thoughts?