Closer look at the Menga dolmen shows it was one of the greatest engineering feats of the Neolithic

One of the finest Neolithic engineering achievements is the Menga dolmen, according to a team of archaeologists, geologists, and historians from several Spanish institutions. In their study, which was published in Scientific Reports, the team investigated how wood and rope would have been utilized in the building of the ancient burial site and learned more about the stone that was employed in its creation.

An old burial mound called the Menga dolmen is situated close to Antequera, Málaga, Spain. Dating back around 5,700 years, it's one of the biggest megalithic constructions ever discovered in Europe. Large stones, the biggest of which weighed more than 100 tons, were used to build it into the summit of a hill. In this latest endeavor, the study team examined in further detail the characteristics of the stones that were used to construct the burial mound, their origins, and their methods of transportation.

The majority of the stones were calcarenites, a kind of detrital sedimentary rock, according to petrographic and stratigraphic study methods employed by the research team to learn more about the composition of the stones. Because of their fragility, they are referred to as soft stones in the contemporary day. The fact that the researchers found it difficult to move such a delicate kind of rock without damaging it points to a certain degree of engineering skill.

They claim that moving and positioning such big stones would have required extensive engineering and preparation, especially for the capstone, which was placed over the top of the chamber to act as a roof. According to the experts, its weight is around 150 tons. They note out that level roadways would have been necessary for the transportation of such massive rocks, as well as the usage of scaffolding and ropes for their placement.

The burial site was constructed with the intention of pointing in a certain direction, according to the study team. Its placement in relation to the surrounding mountains produces intricate light patterns inside the chamber. They also discovered that the early engineers had come up with a method for channeling water seepage away from the burial chamber's borders by placing stones there in an interlocking manner, which prevented erosion.