Prehistory in Puglia


Prehistory in Puglia

The presence of prehistoric remains in Puglia, such the remains of a the skeleton of a young pregnant woman of the palaeolitic era, named "Delia", has shown that the territory of Puglia was inhabitated since ancient times.

Today these findings are shown in various museums along the region. Other remains like dolmens, menhirs and specchie can be seen around the territory.

Dolmens, Menhirs and Specchie in Puglia


The Dolmen is the most ancient megalithic monument on the territory, a central feature of the funeral architecture of the pre-classical era. Dolmens are megalithic constructions with an entrance, or dromos, and a cell made of large blocks of stones. So far the purpose of the dolmen is not completely understood, although they are generally considered places of some worship. They were probably built in a period of economic welfare when there was a complex and organized hierarchical society.

Where to find them

Dolmen of Montalbano

Near Bisceglie, on the road to Corato, the dolmen called Chianca, and near Cimadomo the Tavola dei Paladini.

Between Bisceglie and Ruvo there two dolmens: one called Albarosa and another one located near a farm called masseria Frisari.

Near Montalbano, at few kms from Ostuni, the dolmen called Montalbano

Melendugno, near Lecce area has number of dolmens in its vicinity, like the Placa, at 1 km on the road to Calimera, and the Gargulante at 3 km in direction to Masseria Zappa.


Menhirs are megalithic totems, set in the rock and astrologically oriented. They are expressions of solar cults and rituals connected to the fecundity of the earth. The name “menhir” was used by the scientist Cosimo De Giorgi and means “long stone”. Already places of worship they were used during the Roman Empire as a reference point for navigational purposes. Christians later added engraved crosses.

Where to find them

In the area of the salento there are hundreds of menhirs, the most beautiful of the world. Zollino and Giudignano are considered megalithic gardens of the history.

The tallest Menhir in Italy is the San Martano, which is 5,20 metres high and can be found in Martano.


Specchie are monuments laid out in a circle and built entirely with dry stones. The name derived from the Latin “specula” (meaning observatory) suggests that they were places of strategic study. Some scholars believe that they were originally sepulchral places, although later they became small fortresses or places of sighting.

Where to find them

They are concentrated in the area between Ceglie Messapica, Villa Castelli and Francavilla Fontana and the area of the Salento.

The Specchia Miano, 8 KM from Ceglie Messapica, has a diameter of 20 metres and is 11 metres high.


Back to Top