Santa Rita 2

Megalithic Monument - Chalcolithic (Copper Age), Bronze Age, Iron Age e Late Roman Empire (25317)
The megalithic monument of Santa Rita 2 is located 69m high, at the top of an elevation of gentle slopes, on the right bank of the Ribeira das Hortinhas, near the village of Santa Rita, 3km away from Cacela. This funerary monument presents an undifferentiated corridor, partially carved in the rocky substrate, orientated southeast, formed by orthostats and covered by slabs of reddish sandstone, 5m long and 0.9m wide, which forms a small atrium at the entrance of the chamber, with a door formed by a large white limestone, creating a significant chromatic contrast. The chamber, consisting of 15 orthostats of red sandstone, is about 5.4cm long and has a rectangular shape, with the floor paved by schist slabs and a niche next to the head orthostat. On the outside, vestiges of the tumulus composed of slabs of red sandstone were identified, which would be enclosed by two stone rings. On the interior, bone remains of about twenty individuals were identified, as well as a diverse set of votive artefacts such as adzes, axes, gouges, blades of different types of raw materials (some of them of exogenous origin), arrow heads, halberds, spherical ceramic vessels and tall neck vases, engraved shale plates, ornament elements (shale beads), copper axes, polished pins of bone and ivory, two scallop shells and cinnabar pigment (red pigment). The architectural features of this monument and the materials collected inside allow its construction and use to be framed in the Chalcolithic period (3rd millennium BC), having parallels with other funerary contexts in the Algarve and Andalusia. A necropolis was identified above the tumulus that covered the chamber, with six graves and a minimum of eight individuals placed in a foetal position, with the presence of artefacts (a wrist-guard and copper puncture) in only one of the structures. The characteristics of these materials and the radiocarbon dating made it possible to chronologically frame these burials in the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC) and Iron Age (1st millennium BC). Abundant Roman materials were collected in the corridor area and its surroundings, as well as the recording of a square shaped masonry structure dating from the late 4th - 5th century AD.


The archaeological site has information available on the website of the Vila Real de Santo António City Council and the Cacela Heritage Research and Information Center. Integrated of the Cacela Visible and Invisible Heritage Trail (Percurso pelos Patrimónios Visíveis e Invisíveis de Cacela), with an explanatory leaflet.

Visit conditions

Free entrance



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:


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