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The Independent Guide to Wineries and Wine Tourism in the Rioja Wine Region

22 de febrero de 2020

Dolmens in la Rioja Alavesa



Dolmen de la Hechicera (Elvillar, Álava)
  • Viticulture Sub-zones: Rioja Alavesa
  • Province: Álava

Dolmens in la Rioja Alavesa

Location: in the municipalities of Leza, Laguardia, Elvillar and Kripan.

The dolmens are prehistoric monuments made with a large megalith that was placed horizontally on top of some stones, forming a sort of table. They date from the Neolithic and were used as collective burials, although it is believed they could also have other functions.

In Rioja Alavesa there are seven dolmens easily accessible and well indicated, which in some cases also have the added charm of being surrounded by vineyards. The seven are facing south and belong to a type of construction called "corridor", which consisted of adding a corridor of large stones to the elemental dolmen. These dolmens could be built over 5,000 years ago and were used until about 1000 BC.

The best known is the so-called Chabola de la Hechicera ("The Sorceress Shanty"), very well preserved. It is located in Elvillar, 1 kilometer away from the road between this village and Laguardia, near an oak and surrounded by vineyards. It is easily accessible through a paved road. It was the first to be discovered, in 1935, and subsequent excavations revealed human remains of 39 people, as well as diverse items of pottery.

The road from Elvillar to Kripan has two different turnoffs leading to another two dolmens: "El Encinal" and "Los Llanos". The latter was the last to be discovered, in 1982, and contained remains of more than 50 people.

The remaining dolmens are "Layaza" and "El Sotillo" (both in Leza), "San Martin" (on the road from Laguardia to Páganos) and "Alto de la Huesera" (very damaged). Human and archaeological remains were found in all of them, including fragments of pottery and flint axes, bone idols and iron utensils.

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