Chas d'egua, Nr Piodao, Serra da Estrela.
|| Grid Reference:
40.233˚ N, 7.816˚ W.
This prominent set of cart-ruts ('Strada's
Real') runs over the top of the Serra d'
mountain range in the Bieras reigon of central Portugal.
Their presence in the same area as the Piodao spiral, alongside
numerous prehistoric carvings and discoveries of stone phalli and
axe-heads suggests that the area may have had a special
significance in the prehistoric past.
For further information on these cart-ruts, visit the nearby
Piodao museum or contact us directly
here for map of the site)
The Portuguese cart-ruts are
sometimes called with 'Strada's
real' or 'Royal roads', which are
associated with the pilgrimage site at Santiago de Compostella.
This particular set
of cart-ruts runs up and over the top of a mountain called 'vale
d'egua', Nr. Piodao.
These cart-ruts are found
at an elevation of approx 800m and appear seemingly in the middle of
nowhere, but it is possible to follow them in both directions for quite a
distance, although they don't seem to appear again as well defined as in the
particular location in the photos above.
There are a couple of
good examples of 'junctions' at the top, which seems a natural enough place
for paths to cross, but there doesn't appear to be allowance for vehicles to
pass each other, which adds to the confusion as to their original purpose.
terrain at the top of the mountain is rugged enough to make the passing of
any wheeled vehicle a difficulty, but it is bewildering to find that
although there are sections with well defined ruts, there are also sections
which have hardly any definition, and which remain seemingly un-used.
the ruts there are several examples of rock-art or 'arte-rupestre',
including one of a cross on a ball, a classic example of the
Christianisation of a previously 'pagan' site of ritual or worship. The
frequency and symbolic nature of the engravings suggests that the site might
have once been used for a ritual purpose, an idea which is increased by the
discovery of a huge spiral in the valley below.
(More about the Chas D'egua spiral)
The presence of
cart-ruts on the Azores is one of the most unexpected facts to
present itself in the search for the first settlers on the Azores.
The Portuguese cart-ruts are pre-Christian, as are those
on Malta. As we have no record of their being made since the
'official' discovery of the Azores, we must assume that these were
made by a people prior to the Portuguese.
(Photo Credits: Antonieta Costa,
about the Azores)
Portuguese Cart-ruts: Gallery of images.
Cart-ruts near Piodao.
into the sea on the Azores, similar to those seen on Malta.