Núcleo de sepulturas de Esmolfe/São Martinho

Necropolis - Roman Period e Early Middle Ages (15450)
The group of rock-cut graves of São Martinho is located in Penalva do Castelo, in a plateau, next to a pine forest, 500m north of the Esmolfe village. It is composed of three adults, anthropomorphic graves, with a perfect-arc head, isolated and dug in the shale, laid around a squared shape cavity, measuring around a square meter. Similar to other specimens, the São Martinho grave nuclei can be chronologically set during the Early Middle Ages. The lack of stratigraphic contexts and associated artefacts makes it difficult to be more chronologically precise. Buildings materials have been identified in the surrounding area (tegulae and imbrex), along with domestic ceramic from different periods, namely Roman.


The site is prepared to receive visitors and it's integrated in the route "Rota dos Cenários do Passado - Rede de Percursos Culturais de Penalva do Castelo", properly signposted (information panels and other auxiliary signage).

Visit conditions

Free entrance


No restrictions.



How to get there? Best practices

Best practices

Good practices when visiting archaeological sites

To visit an archaeological site is to connect with our origins, to understand our path and evolution as a species integrated in the environment, and to respect and safeguard our heritage so that future generations can also visit and enjoy it.

Walking the paths and enjoying the structures and archaeological pieces that survived over time, fosters the understanding of what is different, but also of what is common among different populations: basically, what identifies us as Homo Sapiens.

More than just vestiges and ruins of the past, archaeological sites showcase our capacity for creative thought, adaptation, interconnection, comprehension and resilience. Without these traits we would not have been successful as cultural beings participating in an ongoing evolutionary process. These sites also allow to consider choices made in the past thus contributing for decisions in the present to be made with greater awareness and knowledge.

Archaeological sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites are fragile resources vulnerable to changes driven by human development. The information they keep, if destroyed, can never be recovered again.

As such, the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) invites all visitors to enjoy the beauty and authenticity of these sites, while helping to preserve them for future generations by adopting the following set of good practices:

  • Respect all signs; 
  • Do not try to access fenced areas; 
  • Do not climb, sit or walk on archaeological structures and remains; 
  • Respect areas where archaeological excavations are being carried out, not disturbing them; 
  • Do not collect materials or sediments;
  • Do not write or make graffiti on archaeological structures; 
  • Put the garbage in appropriate containers. If none exist, take the garbage with you until you find a suitable container; 
  • Leave the archaeological site as you found it; 
  • Do not drive bicycles or motor vehicles over archaeological sites; 
  • Respect and protect the plants and animals that live in the areas surrounding archaeological sites;
  • Report signs of vandalism or destruction to DGPC or Regional Directorates of Culture (DRC);
  • Share the visiting experience and the archaeological sites, as a way of raising awareness to their preservation and making them better known;
  • Do not buy archaeological materials and report to public security authorities, DGPC or DRC, if you suspect that archaeological materials may be for sale.

Further information:

AIA / ATTA (2013) – Guide to best practices for archaeological tourism. 

Raposo, J. (2016) – Código de conduta para uma visita responsável a sítios arqueológicos. In Sítios arqueológicos portugueses revisitados: 500 arqueossítios ou conjuntos em condições de fruição pública responsável. Al-madan, 2ª série, p. 20 – 77. 

DGPC contacts

Phone: +351213614200 | Email: informacaoarqueologica@dgpc.pt


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