Grutas artificiais do Tojal de Vila Chã ou Carenque

Artificial Cave/ Rock Cut Tomb - Neolithic e Chalcolithic (Copper Age) (3077)
The artificial cave necropolis of Tojal de Vila Chã or Carenque is located in a platform, halfway through the slope of Serra da Silveira, on the right bank of the Ribeira de Carenque (inside the water reservoir complex of EPAL), in an area with significant presence of sites chronologically framed between the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic, such as the Baútas (CNS 4799) settlement, Espargueira / Serra das Éguas (CNS 3955), the Monte das Pedras (CNS 30625) site, the Baútas (CNS 1979) funerary structures, the Antas de Belas (Anta do Monte Abraão CNS-655; Anta da Estria CNS 3001 and Pedras dos Mouros / Senhor da Serra CNS 11301) and the megalithic monument of Pego Longo (CNS 3518). This necropolis contained four caves, excavated in the limestone outcrops, from which three remain preserved but one has been destroyed. These "rabbit hutch"-like caves match the standard model found in the artificial caves of the Lisboa and Setúbal peninsula, being composed of a circular or sub-circular shaped chamber, having roughly 4m in diameter, a vaulted ceiling with skylight, oval antechamber, winding corridors of variable length, covered by slabs, and having an oval or horseshoe shaped door. The alignment of the entrance of these caves was diverse, since the entrance to cave 1 was facing northeast, cave 2's was facing southeast and cave 3's entrance was facing south-southeast. The artefact collection associated to these monuments is vast and diversified, composed by osteological human remains, silex lithic-flaked artefacts (blades, arrowheads and "halberds"), polished stone artefacts (axes and adzes), votive limestone artefacts (10 decorated and plain baetylus, "pinecone idols", four crescents, a sickle or "hook-like" artefact, mortar), phalanx bone decorated with facial tattooing, an "Almeria-type" idol and a lagomorph piece made of bone, eight engraved shale plaques, sandstone plaques, personal adornment artefacts such as bone hairpins and bone buttons, collar beads and pendants (made out of greenstone, limestone, bone or ceramics), an stone wrist-guard, copper artefacts (punchers) and a set of ceramic vessels, both plain and decorated (carinated cups, jagged rims, carinated bowls, clay oil lamps, bell-shaped vessels "Palmela-type"). The architectonic features found on these funerary structures, along with the artefact collection allow to frame its construction during the Late Neolithic (3200 - 2900 BC) and its more intense use during the whole Chalcolithic era (2900 - 2000 BC).


The Monographic Nucleus of the Carenque Necropolis is one of the nuclei of the Municipal Museum of Archeology of Amadora. Possibility to book guided tours.

Visit conditions

Free entrance associated with a museological structure


Summer: Saturday - 14.00 - 18.00 / Sunday - 09.00 - 14.00 Winter: Saturday - 13.00 - 17.00 / Sunday - 10.00 - 15.00


    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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