Underwater archaeology expedition in River Arade

news: Underwater archaeology expedition in River Arade

PORTIMÃO’S RIO ARADE estuary is the location for an underwater archaeological campaign entitled ‘Missão ProArade 2005’, taking place now until July 31. Its objective is to conclude the excavation, registry, dismantlement and the total recuperation of the wooden hull of the so calledArade 1 boat that was located in 2001.

An agreement between the Instituto Português de Arqueologia (IPA), the Centro Nacional de Arqueologia Náutica e Subaquática (CNANS) and the Portimão Câmara/Museu Municipal de Portimão (MMP) has been signed to support the team’s work.

The history

Back in the 1970s, following some dredging of the River Arade, two wooden boats were found and named Arade 1 and Arade 2, which archaeologists believe are the most significant findings from the Portimão river. The Arade 1 is thought to date back to the first half of the 15th century/first half of the 16th century and is one of the oldest vessels ever to be found in Portuguese waters. For this reason, it is of great importance to Iberian naval archaeology.

Some years following its original discovery, when it was already quite broken up, the Arade 1 disappeared once more, without having had any archaeological work performed. However, in the summer of 2001, CNANS and IPA, together with the Grupo de Estudos Oceânicos and the MMP, carried out a campaign included in the ProArade project, with the objective of recognising various archaeologically sensitive areas and it relocated the wooden boats that were discovered in 1970. Then, on August 1, 2001, the remains of a smooth wooden boat were found and were immediately linked to the Arade 1.

It is hoped the restored boats will be featured in an exhibition entitled ‘Barcos do Arade’ (Boats of the Arade), to be staged at the future Museu de Portimão (currently under construction and foreseen to open in 2006).