Mysterious 7,000-Year-Old Circular Structure Near Prague

Archaeologists are investigating a puzzling 7,000-year-old circular structure discovered in Vinoř, an area on the outskirts of Prague.

The purpose of the ancient Neolithic structures is still unclear, but scientists hope further studies will shed more light on why the monumental buildings were constructed and who and by whom they were used.

Despite being older than the Egyptian pyramids or England’s Stonehenge, these intriguing ancient structures are still extremely well-preserved.

Few people know about Central Europe’s ‘roundels’, but these Neolithic circular enclosures have secrets to reveal.

“The so-called roundels are the oldest evidence of architecture in the whole of Europe. They are a series of circular ditches and they are always arranged in a circle with two, three, four or more entrances to the center, four being the most common. The circular ditches usually number between one and three, or very rarely four. The whole structure reaches an average of between 30 to 240 meters, but you most commonly find them in the range of 60 – 80 meters. Perhaps I should emphasize that these ditches are usually around one and a half meters wide, but we know of ditches up to fourteen meters wide and six meters deep,” said Jaroslav Rídký from the Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague.

Despite these findings, it is still unclear what purpose these structures have served, says Miroslav Kraus, who is in charge of the research.

“One of such theory is that it could have been used as an economic center, a center of trade. It could also have been a centre of some religious cult, where rites of passage or rituals connected to the time of year were performed.

“Roundels were built during the Stone Age, when people had not yet discovered iron. The only tools they could use were made of stone and animal bones,” said Kraus.

“The roundel in Vinoř, which measures 55 meters in diameter, has an unusual floor plan with three separate entrances.

What makes its research unique is that archaeologists have uncovered the structure almost in its entirety, says Mr. Kraus:

“We have the opportunity to uncover nearly the whole structure, or rather what remained of it.  At the same time I should note that part of the structure was revealed back in the 1980s, during the laying of gas and water pipelines,” Kraus said.

Artist’s impression of what the Neolithic structure may have looked like. Credit: Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Scientists will now take samples for analysis and the results should provide researchers with more information about the original structure.

“It would be great to discover something that would indicate the actual function of the building. However, it is very unlikely, since none of the previously researched roundels had revealed such information.

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