City - Bronze Age, Iron Age e Roman Period (4)
The archaeological site of Chãos Salgados/Old Castle is traditionally associated with the Latin toponym of Miróbriga. This site relates to a Roman city located on a hill, about 12km away from the Atlantic Ocean. The archaeological findings of this site have been known since the 16th century. The archaeological works allowed the identification of structural and artefactual traces of a Roman city, with a long diachronic occupation, chronologically framed between the 1st-century B.C and the 5th/6th centuries AD, that overlapped a previous indigenous settlement (6th/5th to 1st-century BC). In the tallest area of the hill, where the forum of the Roman city was built, several structures and materials were identified that allowed documenting the presence of an Iron Age settlement on this hill, which was later Romanized. The Roman city, which sought to adapt the conditions of its geographical location to the urban models in effect, is organized in two main nuclei: the first (to the north) composed by the forum, with a centralized temple and several public buildings (basilica, curia, temples¿), two public thermal compounds, an extensive housing area, with scattered structures and the tabernae area, located to the south and west of the forum; and the second nucleus (to the south), located at about 700m, which corresponds to the circus (horse racing building, generally referred to as a hippodrome). The Miróbriga forum is located on the highest platform of the hill, presenting a small space with a squared plaza (22,08m x 25,50m), paved by limestone plates and surrounded by porticos, with the exception of the south west side. The main temple was built in the most prominent area of this plaza and is well framed in the landscape, which was probably consecrated to the imperial cult and constitutes one of the major symbols of Miróbriga. The thermal area is divided into two compounds, the East Baths (420m2 of total area), probably built in the late 1st-century AD, and the West Baths (with an area of about 693m2) built during the 2nd-century AD. Several compartments are visible in these thermal compounds (dressing and ludic rooms, cold bathing areas - frigidarium - and heated baths - caldarium and tepidarium), tanks, furnaces and plumbing systems. A bridge was identified in the vicinity of these structures that would allow the communication between the main urban nucleus and the circus, which would have been built during the 2nd-century AD. The circus, built during the 2nd-century AD, presents a rectangular blueprint, with a round arch to the north and a segmented arch to the south, divided in the middle by the spina, with a metae in each end and a triumphal door on the south side. The abandonment of this Roman city would have occurred gradually between the end of the 5th century and the beginning of the 6th century AD.


This archaeological site has an interpretive centre with reception and exhibition areas as well as a shop. The site integrates the "Itinerários Arqueológicos do Alentejo e Algarve".

Visit conditions

Entrance with admission ticket


Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9.00 - 12.30 14.00 - 17.30 Sundays 9.00 - 12.00 14.00 - 17.30 Closed: Mondays, January 1st, Easter (Sunday), May 1st, December 25th and municipal holiday.



    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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