Penedo do Com

Anta/Dolmen - Neolithic (Último quartel do IVº milénio a.C.) e Chalcolithic (Copper Age) (2ª fase de ocupação - Calcolítico final) (77)
The Dolmen or Arca do Penedo do Com is located in the "Pontão" place, Esmolfe, (Penalva do Castelo, Viseu). It is implanted in a granite area, more specifically in a valley, fed by the ribeira de Sezures and ribeira de Oronho, at around 502m of average altitude. The landscape is deeply anthropized, alternating between areas of wild pine and small plots of agricultural land. The presence of granite outcrops stands out on the surroundings and one of these outcrops, which the local population gave the name of "Penedo do Com" was destroyed for industrial purposes. The existence of prehistoric pottery was found in the vicinity of the site, at a rock shelter, named Abrigo do Penedo do Com" (CNS 15446). The Anta do Penedo do Com is a "classic" dolmen with an elongated polygonal chamber, with nine orthostats, facing SE. The head orthostat is flanked by two narrower orthostats, attached by the top slab, a common architectural solution within the region. The corridor, of average size, has four orthostats on each side, leaning against each other and is clearly distinguishable from the chamber It contains a buttress that surrounded the entire monument and it ends close to the initial corridor orthostats, extending 2.80m out to the SE, establishing a new open space (atrium), with a semi-circular oval blueprint. This atrium was confined by a semi-circular structure located SE, with a central opening that provided access to the inside of the sepulchre, aligned with its longitudinal axis. With about 15m by 13m, the tumululs presents a sub-circular shape, having a maximum preserved thickness of 1.20m, close to the chamber's lateral orthostates. The monument was closed, and the structures were covered with soil and some gravel. From this period, some typical Neolithic artefacts were excavated, such as microliths, flint blades, hyaline and flint quartz lamellae and shale and variscite necklace beads. The preserved testimonies and radiocarbon dating available to the region point to a first period of use during the last quarter of the 4th millennium BC. The presence of bell-beaker and truncated cone-shaped vessels allow concluding that the monument may have been reused during the end of the Chalcolithic period or in the beginning of the Bronze Age.


The site is prepared to receive visits. Presence of explanatory panels on site.

Visit conditions

Free entrance with information



How to get there? Best practices

Best practices

Good practices when visiting archaeological sites

To visit an archaeological site is to connect with our origins, to understand our path and evolution as a species integrated in the environment, and to respect and safeguard our heritage so that future generations can also visit and enjoy it.

Walking the paths and enjoying the structures and archaeological pieces that survived over time, fosters the understanding of what is different, but also of what is common among different populations: basically, what identifies us as Homo Sapiens.

More than just vestiges and ruins of the past, archaeological sites showcase our capacity for creative thought, adaptation, interconnection, comprehension and resilience. Without these traits we would not have been successful as cultural beings participating in an ongoing evolutionary process. These sites also allow to consider choices made in the past thus contributing for decisions in the present to be made with greater awareness and knowledge.

Archaeological sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites are fragile resources vulnerable to changes driven by human development. The information they keep, if destroyed, can never be recovered again.

As such, the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) invites all visitors to enjoy the beauty and authenticity of these sites, while helping to preserve them for future generations by adopting the following set of good practices:

  • Respect all signs; 
  • Do not try to access fenced areas; 
  • Do not climb, sit or walk on archaeological structures and remains; 
  • Respect areas where archaeological excavations are being carried out, not disturbing them; 
  • Do not collect materials or sediments;
  • Do not write or make graffiti on archaeological structures; 
  • Put the garbage in appropriate containers. If none exist, take the garbage with you until you find a suitable container; 
  • Leave the archaeological site as you found it; 
  • Do not drive bicycles or motor vehicles over archaeological sites; 
  • Respect and protect the plants and animals that live in the areas surrounding archaeological sites;
  • Report signs of vandalism or destruction to DGPC or Regional Directorates of Culture (DRC);
  • Share the visiting experience and the archaeological sites, as a way of raising awareness to their preservation and making them better known;
  • Do not buy archaeological materials and report to public security authorities, DGPC or DRC, if you suspect that archaeological materials may be for sale.

Further information:

AIA / ATTA (2013) – Guide to best practices for archaeological tourism. 

Raposo, J. (2016) – Código de conduta para uma visita responsável a sítios arqueológicos. In Sítios arqueológicos portugueses revisitados: 500 arqueossítios ou conjuntos em condições de fruição pública responsável. Al-madan, 2ª série, p. 20 – 77. 

DGPC contacts

Phone: +351213614200 | Email:


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