The Algarve Archaeological Association (AAA) will be presenting two lectures, in English, by Inês Vaz Pinto on Tuesday, January 7. 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.
Portugal has a wonderful array of interesting archaeological sites to visit, including Roman Tróia, a National Monument, on the western coast of Portugal.
Inês Vaz Pinto, the site manager of the Roman ruins at Tróia, will be talking to the AAA about this large fish-salting production centre which was occupied until the 6th century AD. It is located on a sandy peninsula that separates the estuary of the Sado River from the Atlantic Ocean.
In Roman times, this sand formation was probably still a line of sand islands and the Roman settlement was possibly on the island of Ácala. It was part of the territory of the civitas of Salacia (modern Alcácer do Sal) and the closest urban centre, c4km away across the waters of the Sado River, was the city of Caetobriga (modern Setúbal).
The heavy erosion that the site suffers from the tides coming into the Sado estuary strongly contributed to its early discovery. Tróia appears in the literature from the 16th century as a Roman settlement with fish-salting vats and was frequently visited and referred to by authors in the following centuries.
The first acknowledged archaeological excavations of the site took place in the 18th century by the future Queen D.Maria I and, in the 1850s, an important series of excavation campaigns were carried out. The main results of these works were the discovery of habitation buildings and a bath complex.
In the 20th century, from 1948 up to the 1970s, the directors of the National Museum of Archaeology carried out excavations and exposed several fish-salting factories, the bath complex, cemeteries and a temple considered to be a Christian basilica. Although many articles were published about the results of these interventions, it was only in 1994 that a comprehensive interpretation of the three best preserved fish-salting factories was published which demonstrated the unusually large scale of the site.
In 2006, a new project was started, promoted by Tróia Resort (click here), for the conservation and presentation of the Roman ruins to the public. The project has involved a number of new archaeological interventions and further research that show that Roman Tróia is the largest fish-salting centre known in the Roman Empire. Today, the site is open to visitors and they run a variety of events including the Troia Summer Project (an archaeological fieldschool programme) and educational events for schools.
Inês Vaz Pinto is an archaeologist and has been Site Manager of the Roman ruins of Tróia since 2006 (www.troiaresort.pt/en/troia-roman-ruins). She is also a researcher at the University of Coimbra and completed her PhD on the Roman Ruins of Troia in 1999.
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.
By JANE ROBERTSON