Megalithic art in Sobrado:
Megaliths are part of a cultural phenomenon that refers to a building of large stone monuments, usually of funerary purposes.
Tumular Structures in Galicia
Galician has its own terminology as to terminology as to refer to these tumuli, and therefore we find words such as mámoa, medorra, medoña, meda, etc., depending on the area, though several may be used within the same region. In the municipality of Sobrado there are two examples of places named after these words: Medorra, located in Folgoso, and Medoña, in Cumbraos Parish.
An important research conducted by Professor Criado Boado about the Bocelo Mountains and the Furelos valley, which aim to show a general perspective of the archeological heritage throughout time.
Sobrado, as well as its border area, must have been home to a large population since ancient times, according to the great amount of sepulchral tumulus found in the area - around 70.
The municipality is located in the central part of Galicia, so its megaliths are linked to those of Toques, in the Bocelo Mountain, and those of Curtis and Ordes.
Sobrado´s relief/topography is that of a middle mountain region, its highest altitudes being the Cova da Serpe (the snake´s cave) to the east, Fonte das Bestas and Campelo, none of which are more than 750 metres height. The altitude decreases as we head west, with a maximum of 600 metres height. The valleys of the most important rivers that cross Sobrado make up the lowest areas: the Tambre, from east to west, and the Mandeo, from east to north. There are also plenty of streams, mostly branches of the aforementioned.
These are the physical grounds upon which the tumular culture will develop in Sobrado. In general, the groups of mámoas (tumuli or barrows) are located primarily on outeiros (hills), with outcrops on the surface and showing significant erosion, which leads to poor soil. Nowadays, they are usually covered by shrubland and found near a river or another water source. At first glance, we observe that tumuli in Sobrado are placed mostly on plains and slightly sloping lands, which suggests a hoe-farming system based on a slash-and-burn agriculture.
A factor we should also take into account is their proximity to the transportation networks, such as the Camiño Real (The Royal Way), which passes by several groups of tumuli.
Although setting a chronological limit to the monuments is difficult, they are believed do date from 2500 B.C.E. - 2000 B.C.E.
It is thought that a Neolithic necropolis existed at the top of Mount Bocelo, from where it was possible to make out villages of Sobrado, Melide, Curtis, Friol and Toques.
From 1987 to 1989, J. Baquero excavated one of these tumuli, known as Forno dos Mouros (the Moors´ Oven) or Mámoa da Muruxosa, as part ot the Bocelo-Furelos Project, directed by F. Criado. It lies by the Camiño Real (the Royal Way), which crosses the top of Mount Bocelo. It consists of a 2,17 metres long by 2,90 metres wide polygonal chamber which seven slabs leaning towards the inside. A granitic boulder stands crosswide on four ot these slabs, covering the chamber. Its largest side measures 4 metres, whilst the smallest measures 3 metres. During the excavating process, iron beams were placed so as to support the boulder, which lacks a piece of stone. The door is facing shotheast and there is a corridor with two sections. Inside, the excavators found remains of red and black paint tracing zigzag figures over a white surface, as well a several isolated dots. Both the architectural structure of the barrow and its peripheral ring remain in good condition.
About 150 metres away from A Pena da Moura, towards Sobrado, we find remains of two other barrows on both sides of the road. One of them collapsed when the road was built, so there are only two upright supports left. There is another group of barrows near these, but all that remains are pieces of the slabs. In all, there area seven barrows on this mountain range. We can also find a natural menhir here, known as Pena da Moura, a granitic rock that has inspired numerous legends among the locals. Some even say it predicts change of weather when winter comes.
Another tumulus is found in Alvariza. It is known as A Mina (The Mine) and it is said that some important soldiers were buried there in ancient times.
On the slope of Monte Corda da Ara, located between As Cruces and A Ciadella, there are four barrows vulnerable to disappearance due to the excavations performed in a nearby rock quarry. Next to the road, on the left, we find another one and two more a little farther away. In the place known as Fraga de Frades, Mr. Manuel Losada found and opened a barrow that seemed intact. Towards the central-east region between Vilariño and Vilasuso, there are other seven barrows. We find four more between Costoia and Brixaría. According to the locals, there used to be even more tumuli, but were destroyed in order to use the materials. Four barrows can be seen on the Cova da Serpe mountain, in Rañón, the northwest region. Groups of three and four are found in Pena Gallada and Pena da Silva mountains. There are also two barrows in Pena do Serrón, one in the Alto do Cordal and another in Lousado. We find a big group on the way down: Uceira (two), Vilarchá (one) and Lagoa (eleven). Manuel Losada mentions the existence of a Crónlech in his book Sobrado de los Monjes. Guía del turista, but it has never been found. Some of the tools found in the barrows are exhibited at the Museo de Melide. Among them we can see axes from the Neolithic period collected somewhere near Sante.
Celtic Hillforts in Sobrado:
The hillforts of Sobrado are located in a middle mountain region, at between 500 and 700 metres of altitude. These hillforts are not large, with 100-metre-wide axes. The largest are found in Sucastro, Grixalba and Vilariño. Most of them are oval shaped, yet we can see some round shaped enclosures such as the Hilfort of Cumbraos. Nowadays, almost all the hillforts are partially ruined and others are covered in weeds, hence making them difficult to measure and contemplate. There is little data about the people who occupied these enclosures and their economic system. It is believed that they were focused on food collection.
Hillfort of Grixalba
It is set in Penagrande. It is one of the largest enclosures in the municipality. Its north-south axis measures around 130 metres, the east-west axis is approximately 120 metres long and it reaches a height of 10 metres. The local claim that Moors lived there and that several treasures were hidden under the ground. Finding these treasures could be dangerous, they say.
Hillfort of Santel
Also known as Roda do Espiño, it is located on the road that leads to As Cruces from Sobrado. The complex structure of this enclosure suggest the existence of a primitive hillfort that was later extended. It is 5 metres high and inside we can see some orange plain ceramic fragments.
Romanisation in Sobrado:
Many remains from the Roman period were found during different excavation campaigns carried out in Sobrado. Most belong to the Roman Camp of A Ciadella, which has been partially digged.
Tesouriño de Gondrei (Gondrei´s Little Treasure
A bowl containing 325 IV century coins was found in 1986 in a property in Gondrey, owned by the Rilo family. These coins are in perfect condition and nowadays they can be seen at the Museo Terra de Melide in Melide.