Excavation work at Juromenha, Portugal

ERA – 25 years of public archaeology

The Algarve Archaeological Association (AAA) will be presenting two lectures, in English, by archaeologists Lucy Evangelista and Rita Dias on Tuesday, May 3.

The first lecture will be at 2.30pm at the Museu do Traje in São Brás; the second lecture will be at 6pm at the Convento de São José in Lagoa.

Lucy Evangelista and Rita Dias will be talking about ERA, a Portuguese commercial archaeological company that was founded in 1997. It was created in order to meet the increased demand for archaeological projects with technical-scientific expertise with an attitude towards constant innovation. The talk will cover 25 years of experiences by ERA in this area of public archaeology.

Aerial view of Fortaleza de Juromenha, Portugal

Archaeological activities in Portugal were traditionally undertaken by institutes, museums, municipalities, universities and some associations. Archaeologists were civil servants or professionals from other areas who carried out this activity. The State was responsible for concerns about archaeological assets and, in the Portuguese mentality, the issues of Heritage are still strongly marked by a static attitude.

Changes in environmental and patrimonial legislation, the socio-political repercussions resulting from the discovery of prehistoric rock art in Côa, and the empowerment of archaeology through the creation of IPPAR (Portuguese Institute of Architectural Heritage) caused profound changes in Portuguese archaeology. It was evident that the few structures that were operational were inadequate to respond to the requirements that this type of heritage raised in Portuguese society. In response, ERA was formed by a group of archaeologists to address this issue and to undertake specialised archaeological projects across Portugal.

Skeleton from a test pit near the Se de Faro

Archaeologist/Biological Anthropologist Lucy Evangelista graduated in archaeology from the University of Porto, where she also completed her Masters in Prehistoric Archaeology in 2004. She completed her PhD in Biological Anthropology at the University of Coimbra in 2018. Lucy has collaborated with ERA Arqueologia since its foundation in 1997 and has been a member since 2008 with responsibilities in the technical area, and has been coordinating the area of Biological Anthropology at ERA since 2018. She has also been collaborating, since 1997, with the research team of the prehistoric site of Perdigões (Reguengos de Monsaraz). Lucy is mainly interested in the study of issues related to recent prehistory with regard to funerary practices.

A Castro in Northern Portugal

Archaeologist Rita Dias PhD specialised in Zooarchaeology, more specifically in Icthyological (fish) remains and seasonality studies using Sclerochronology and Stable isotope analysis on fish remains. In the last three years, she has joined ERA Arqueologia as a researcher and Project Manager. She has been involved in several archaeological projects throughout the Algarve, applying her archaeosciences knowledge. Since 2021, she has been Odyssey Project Manager. Odyssey is a European funded research project with Aveiro and Maia Universities using non-invasive remote-sensing techniques such as aerial LiDAR and Multispectral and Thermic photography.

Non-members are welcome to attend AAA lectures for a €5 admission fee, with all money raised by the AAA being used for archaeological grants and speakers.

For more information contact algarvearchass@gmail.com, visit arquealgarve.weebly.com or Facebook ‘Algarve Archaeological Association’. Please check the website or facebook page for any last-minute changes.

By JANE ROBERTSON