Mértola alcáçova_1

Mértola Museum Town – 40 years of archaeology and heritage valuation

On Tuesday, December 5, the Algarve Archaeological Association (AAA) will be presenting two lectures, in English, by Lígia Rafael and Fernando Martins. The first lecture will be at 2.30pm at the Museu do Traje in São Brás de Alportel, and the second lecture will be at 6pm at the Convento de São José in Lagoa.

Lígia Rafael and Fernando Martins will be introducing us to the museum town of Mértola in southern Alentejo which lies on the Guadiana River. From the 1970s onwards, heritage valuation has been seen as a driver of development of small villages, where the local museum becomes a main tourist attraction. This has always been the biggest challenge in Mértola, to transform a rural village in south Alentejo into a centre of attraction, as a way of stabilising the local population and inviting tourists.

Mértola Casa Romana

Thus began a new stage in the development of Mértola, not as prestigious as its previous role in history as an important trading post and important river port with its connection to the Mediterranean Sea, but one full of knowledge about the roots of the territory and its potential.

The core aim of this new stage of development has been to raise awareness regarding the importance of the archaeological, historical and natural heritage of Mértola with the involvement of local agencies and the population. Mértola Museum Town is a benchmark project regarding investigations and heritage valuation, having an innovative way of disclosing and disseminating results and knowledge.


Lígia Rafael is the Coordinator of the Museum of Mértola-Cláudio Torres. She has a degree in History and Cultural Heritage, a Masters in Museology and is a PhD student at the University of Évora. One of Lígia’s specialisms is in the conservation and restoration of archaeological materials, particularly in the research of metals and glass from the Islamic period in the collection of the Mértola Museum.

Fernando Martins has a degree in Tourism and works at the Museum of Mértola-Cláudio Torres where he is responsible for the attendance, reception and guided tours of visitors and tourists.



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 [email protected], visit arquealgarve.weebly.com or Facebook ‘Algarve Archaeological Association‘. Please check the website or Facebook page for any last-minute changes.