Casas das Mouras Encantadas – A Study of dolmens in Portuguese archaeology and folklore. Master's thesis 2014

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Mouras Encantadas are supernatural beings in Portuguese folklore. They live in megalith tombs and guard the entrance to the world beyond. This study compares the archaeological data of the tombs to the folklore - stories, traditions, perceptions and

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  Casas das Mouras Encantadas–A Study ofdolmens in Portuguese archaeologyand folklore Quimera 2011:  A casa damoura Zaida . University of HelsinkiHumanisticfaculty, Department of filosophy, history, culture and art studiesMastersthesis in archaeologyHenna-RiikkaLindströmSupervisors: prof. Mika Lavento, lecturer Antti LahelmaOctober2014  Tiedekunta/Osasto Fakultet/Sektion–FacultyHumanistinen tiedekuntaLaitos Institution–DepartmentFilosofian, historian, kulttuurin ja taiteiden tutkimuksen laitosTekijä Författare–Author Henna-RiikkaLindströmTyön nimi Arbetets titel–TitleCasas das MourasEncantadas–A study of Portuguese dolmens in archaeology and folkloreOppiaine Läroämne–Subject ArkeologiaTyön laji Arbetets art–LevelPro Gradu–tutkielma Aika Datum–Month and year Lokakuu 2014Sivumäärä Sidoantal–Number of pages104 + 13liitesivuaTiivistelmä Referat–Abstract Mouras encantadas eli lumotut mourat ovat yliluonnollisia olentoja, jotka portugalilaisen kansanperinteen mukaan asuvatmegaliittihaudoissaja vartioivat niidenkautta kulkevaa reittiä elävien ja kuolleidenmaailmojenvälillä.Tutkimus vertaileePortugalin megaliittihaudoista saatua arkeologista dataa ja kansanperinteen megaliittihautoja koskevia tarinoita,käsityksiä ja uskomuksia, tarkoituksena selvittää olisiko fragmentteja muinaisesta uskonnollisesta maailmankuvasta saattanutkulkeutua symbolien tasolla kansanperinteen mukana nykyaikaan asti.Tutkimuksen teoreettisena taustana on käsitys kollektiivisen mytologianhitaasta muutosvauhdista ja sen ytimen, symbolien,pysyvyydestä. Symbolit ovat mytologianvanhinta kerrostumaa, joiden ympärille kaikki muu on rakentunut ja kerrostunut ajankuluessa. Myytit itsessään muuttuvat yhteiskunnan muutosten myötä, kunkin sukupolven tulkitessa vanhaa materiaalia uudelleenomaan aikaansa parhaiten sopivalla tavalla, mutta symbolit yleensä säilyvät, vaikkakin niitätulkitaan eri tavoin eri aikoina.Muutokset hautaustavoissa kertovat muutoksista ideologiassa ja yhteiskunnassa, ja tutkimus seuraamegaliittihautojenarkeologisessa aineistossatapahtuneita muutoksianeoliittiselta kaudelta rautakaudelle, selvittäen mitä muutokset saattaisivatkertoa kunkin aikakauden yhteiskunnallisesta ideologiasta ja uskonnollisista käsityksistä ja siitä minkälainen merkitysmegaliittihaudoille kulloinkin annettiin.Yhdistämällä arkeologian, folkloristiikan ja historiallisten lähteiden tuottamaa tietoamenneisyydestä tutkimus luo kuvaa niistä kehityslinjoista, joita ihmisten suhteessa megaliittihautoihin on tapahtunut niidenpitkänkäyttöhistorian aikana.Tutkimuksen tuloksena on, että hyvin todennäköisesti Portugalin megaliittihautoja koskevaan kansanperinteeseen on kertynytaineksiahyvinmonilta eri aikakausilta, ja ettäsymbolisten yhtäläisyyksien nojallaon mahdollista, että siinä on fragmentaarisiaaineksia jopa megaliittihautojen syntyaikojen uskonnollisista käsityksistä, neoliittiselta kaudelta saakka. Avainsanat–Nyckelord–KeywordsMouras encantadas,megalith tombs,Portuguese dolmens,Portuguese Megalith Culture, archaeology and folklore, dolmen reuse,megalithic art, folklore of dolmensSäilytyspaikka–Förvaringställe–Where depositedMuita tietoja–Övriga uppgifter–Additional information  Index  1.I  ntroduction  …………………………………………………………………..1 1.1In the dolmen sat a maiden spinning a thread of gold………………………...11.2Research questions and method………………………………………………..2 1.3Earlier research……………………………………………………………………6 1.3.1Studies in folklore…………………………………………………………6 1.3.2Studies in archaeology…………………………………………………..8 1.4Source material and the study structure………………………………………10 PART I  2. Megalithic phenomenon, tombs and burial practises  …………........13 2.1Different types of megalithic tombs in Portugal………..……………………..132.2Chronology of different types of megalithtombs……………………………..17 2.3Where were the megalith tombs built………………………………………….192.4The megalithic phenomenon in the Western Europe and Portugal………...212.5Burials in megalith tombs……………………………………………………….232.5.1Burials in the Neolithic Period 4800-3000 BCE……………………...232.5.2Burials in the Chalcolithic Period (approximately 3000-1800 BCE and reburials in the Bronze and Iron Ages…………………………...31 3. The art of megalithic tombs  ……………………………………...………34 3.1Paintings and drawings in the tombs………………………………………….343.2Symbols in the art of themegalith tombs……………………………………..393.3Sometheories and interpretations on Iberian megalithic art………….…….433.4The chist plaques of Alentejo…………………………………………………..46 PART II  4. Folklore on megalithic tombs and mouras encantadas  …...………..56  4.1Short introduction………………………………………………………………..56 4.2Mouras–builders and inhabitants of megalith tombs……………………….58   4.2.1Background………………………………………………………………58 4.2.2The earliest known written references to mouras……………………60 4.3Where and when to meet mouras…………………………………………….. 634.4Mouras in theshape of snakes and bovines (and goats)……………………65 4.4.1Symbolism of snake…………………………………………………….65 4.4.2Snakes and bovines and goddesses in European mythologies…..68 4.5Spinners of the thread of life……………………………………………………70  5. Megalithic tombs in folklore and tradition  ……………………...……..73 5.1The relation between the stories and the narrators………………………….735.2The traditions on megalithic tombs…………………………………………….75 5.3Mouras and dolmens in toponyms……………………………………………..795.4Church, dolmens and mouras………………………………………………….80  6. Comparing thearchaeological and folkloristic data ……………...…84 6.1The symbolic similarities………………………………………………………..846.2Search for the unchanged fragments in the moura–stories………………..86  7. Conclusions  ……………………………………………………………..….89 References  …………………………………………………………………..93 Appendixes  ………………………………………………………………..104  1 “On top of the hill are the remains of an ancient monument,which people here call“anta”.Its tall, dark boulders aresupporting a horizontal stone, like thegiants table put there for a formidable feast.This is the house ofMoura Encantada.... No one can boast about having gone near the dolmen.Itisguarded by a fierce bull, whichpaws the ground, furious mullet,running around the dolmen. You can hear its lowbellowing fromafar, when it smells a human. It chases away any reckless,daring adventurers goingtoo neartothe“House of Moura”, likethis dolmen is called.Never have people seen a bull like that–it is the horror of the entireneighbourhood..“  (Chaves 1924: 209) 1. Introduction 1.1In the dolmen sat a maiden spinning a thread of gold  Around5000 BCEstartedthe construction of differentmegalithsin WesternEurope, andcontinued throughout the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods, untilabout1800 BCE(Service& Bradbery1993:11).The use of these megaliths,in its turn,as burialand ritual sites, continued sometimesfor thousands of years after their construction, and their use for magical purposes, mainly infertility magic, sometimes continued almost to the present day(Holtorf 2000-2008).The tradition concerning megalithsis very rich in many parts of Europe,and many themes occurring in it are common to a wide area.Some megalithswere forgotten–they lost their significance in thelives of the communities anddisappeared from their stories, and in the end they were removed from thefields to gain room for cultivation, orwereused to construct something else.Other megaliths instead maintained their central position in the traditions andinthephysical and mental geography 1 of the human societies, as part of the 1 I´m basing the conception of physical and mental geography on Bintliff´s (2013) article, in which he iscommenting Tilley´s theory about the phenomenology of landscape. According to Tilley´s view, says
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