Alcalar - Povoado

Ditched Enclosure - Neolithic e Chalcolithic (Copper Age) (2781)
The archaeological site of Alcalar is located in the village of Alcalar, Portimão, covering an extensive area of about 20 hectares, between the Ria de Alvor and the foothills of the Serra de Monchique. This site includes several housing areas and an imposing necropolis with roughly twenty identified monuments, grouped in several nuclei (Alcalar Centro, East; West, Vidigal Velho, Monte Velho, Poio and Monte das Canelas). These funerary structures present different architectonic characteristics (hypogea, dolmen, tholoi), funerary practices and a diachronic construction / occupation. The various geophysical surveys as well as the archaeological excavation campaigns carried out in this site, allowed a set of ditch type structures, carved in the geological substrate, to be identified, with curvilinear and sinuous layouts, prompting Alcalar to be included in the category of large settlements (enclosures) of ditches in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Several silo/pits, dwelling areas (semi-excavated circular huts with masonry foundations), combustion structures, fauna remains (animal and shell), polished and flaked stone artefacts, as well as ceramic vessels were identified, with an emphasis on symbolic and prestigious materials, some of which have exogenous origins (amphibolite, adornment elements in variscite, ivory, among others), attesting to its interaction with different peninsular, Mediterranean and Atlantic European territories. The Chalcolithic settlement of Alcalar was a prominent social, cultural and symbolic centre of the western Algarve, occupied between the end of the 4th millennium and during the 3rd millennium BC (3200 - 2000 BC) and was integrated in a wide network of housing and funeral/ritual spaces with different sizes and characteristics.


The calcolithic settlement is located on private properties, with conditional access to prior permission of the respective owners. Interpretive Centre associated with Alcalar burial monuments 7 and 9. Additional information and some artefacts from Alcalar can be found in the Museum of Portimão. The archaeological site is integrated in the "Mexilhoeira Grande" tour, the "Mediterranean Diet Route" and the Archaeological Itineraries of Alentejo and Algarve.

Visit conditions

By booking



    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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