Archaeologists in the Czech Republic have discovered a 7,000-year-old circular structure measuring approximately 180 feet in diameter, Radio Prague International reported earlier this month .
The structure, known as a roundel, dates to the Neolithic period and archaeologists believe it was constructed between 4900 B.C.E. and 4600 B.C.E. The roundel, and others like it in Europe, are considered to be the oldest massive structures in Europe.
For comparison, construction on Stonehenge is believed to started around 3100 B.C.E., while the famed Pyramids of Giza are thought to have been erected around 2600 B.C.E. at the earliest. That makes the roundel at least 1,000 years older than Stonehenge and several thousand years older than the pyramids.
This roundel was uncovered in Vinoř, a district on the outskirts of Prague. Around 200 roundels have been discovered across Europe, with 35 of them found in the Czech Republic.
Researchers are still working to understand what the purpose or significance the roundels held for Stone Age peoples.
“One of such theory is that it could have been used as an economic centre, a centre 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,” Miroslav Kraus, the head of the excavation team in Prague, told Radio Prague International . “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.”
A wall revealing the different layers of the excavation.
Researchers believe that the roundel was built by people that were part of the Stroked Pottery culture , who were known for their farming villages in Central Europe and saw their zenith between 4900 B.C.E. and 4400 B.C.E.