Historical treasures in Lagos

By ELOÏSE WALTON [email protected]

In an exclusive tour of the city of Lagos with municipal archaeologist, Elena Moran, the Algarve Resident was shown firsthand the steps that are being taken to gain vital information about the city’s past and preserve its historical heritage.

Archaeologists working on the sites of major urban renewal projects in Lagos have unearthed structures that show evidence of the city’s commercial and sea faring past. (See the Algarve Resident edition, September 25, 2008).

The old city wall, known as the Muralha da Cerca Nova, which was partly demolished and buried by the construction of Avenida da Guiné along the riverfront in the last century, has been uncovered during the revamping of the city’s riverside area.

“It was not a great surprise to find the city wall, as we knew that it was here from past records that we have, however we can see how the wall evolved and was built up over time,” said Elena Moran.

She added that the structure has been planned into the redevelopment of the riverside area and will become a prominent feature once again.

“In the past, the sea came right up to this wall and ships would sail in and unload fish and other commodities, as well as slaves who were sold in a building just a few metres away,” said Elena Moran.

“Now we cannot allow the sea to come in so far, but to recreate the link, a shallow lake with fountains is being built and the old wall will be built up to around one metre in height.”

Although the excavation of this area did not reveal any artefacts, in another part of the city where a car park is currently under construction, a team of archaeologists have discovered a large structure and two burial sites.

Across the city, at Monte Molião, a steep hill side located along the EN125 and the junction for the marina, archaeologists have excavated several sites which show occupation from the Iron Age through to the Roman period.

“We have several structures where we can see the evolution over time, where one building has been erected over another and also a number of pottery ovens and a cistern,” said Elena Moran.

“Lagos Câmara has bought several pieces of land at Monte Molião including a house, which, it is hoped, will be refurbished and provide an information centre for visitors who come to view these ruins.”

According to Elena Moran, these are just a sample of the Câmara’s commitment to archaeology and the preservation of the city’s past.

Lagos Câmara also provides tax incentives to developers and domestic renovators to hire an archaeologist when undertaking work on historical properties in the municipality.

Visit Archeological Association of the Algarve blogspot and website by clicking the link on the right of this page