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Wonder  }  Archaeology

The Dolmen of Montalbano

History is lost over the centuries until it becomes legend


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Where is


72016 Montalbano BR, Italia (87m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

For 4,000 years it has been firmly planted in the ground and motionlessly observing all that changes around it. Two standing stones and one uniting and towering above them: simple but strong evidence of our origins and above all a thread connecting Apulia to northern Europe, before the internet and airplanes. Over time it has gone through changes in shape and size: covered with topsoil and stones, plundered in structure and in the accessories it probably contained; it has seen olive trees grow, capers blossom, produce figs and prickly pears. And now it is left for us to admire, along the Francigena of the South, a witness to a journey of faith, history and stories.

Why it is special

The mystery around thesemegalithic constructions has not yet been fully unraveled, and this has fueled popular imagination around them over the centuries: who built them? What were they used for? perhaps they were a sacrificial altar, perhaps a funerary altar, or perhaps a rudimentary but imposing burial construction. Whatever their usefulness, it is striking to think that while our ancestors were leaving us these legacies, the great Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian civilizations flourished in the East, which had reached a decidedly more evolved cultural level.

Not to be missed

Near the Dolmen is a small "lamia," a typical rural building surrounded by a spontaneous botanical garden with fig and prickly pear trees, mulberry trees, vines, capers, carob trees. With a few steps, and a careful look, you will also be able to spot a "cave house" carved out of the rock.

A bit of history

The dolmen of Montalbano is a megalithic monument that dates back to the Eneolithic, thus to about 4000 years ago, but the first written information we have about the dolmen of Montalbano dates back to 1360: to its presence we owe the name of the entire surrounding area "Pisco Marano," which in the local language means "flat stone." Over time, the appearance of the dolmen has changed a lot: from the descriptions we can gather that for a long time it was covered by a mound of earth and stones (and this allowed it to be preserved at least partially); moreover, until the beginning of the last century there was a back wall and an access corridor that were probably removed to be used in other rural constructions.


The Dolmen of Montalbano is also known as the "Table of the Paladins": perhaps because the Knights of Malta, who for a long time actually ruled over this part of Apulia, used it for their ceremonies before leaving for the East? Perhaps because, in popular belief only strong men like the Paladins could have built it? The mystery deepens...

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