Povoado das Mesas do Castelinho

Fortified Settlement - Chalcolithic (Copper Age) ((?)), Bronze Age ((?)), Iron Age, Roman Period e Medieval Islamic Period (4263)
The Mesas do Castelinho settlement is located in the Herdade of Monte Novo do Castelinho, about 2km south of Santa Clara -a-Nova village, on a raised platform, which endowed the village with a strategic role in controlling one of the few natural corridors between the Baixo Alentejo and the Algarve. The archaeological site Mesas do Castelinho is mentioned in archaeological bibliography since the end of the 19th century. Materials associated with chronologies prior to the Iron Age (polished stone, bronze artefacts and fragments of ceramic containers) are scarce and scattered when collected, without any association with specific contexts, which limits the characterization of this occupation stage. At the end of the 5th century, beginning of the 4th century BC, Mesas do Castelinho was a large fortified settlement, structured on two platforms and adapted to the original terrain. From this stage, vestiges of the defensive structures were identified, as well as buildings and compartments of rectangular / quadrangular shape, organized in streets. The vast artefactual set (ceramic containers with diverse functions, large storage containers, amphorae) connected to this occupation stage is mostly composed of local productions, some materials of exogenous origin being identified. Roman presence has a premature evidence in Mesas do Castelinho, recording significant changes in the settlement structure, along with the deactivation of the walls, space reorganization and construction of more precarious buildings. After prolonged abandonment, the site was occupied again during the 9th and 10th centuries AD (Medieval Islamic period), corresponding to a small rural fortification with a population cluster. The permanent abandonment of this settlement relates to the Almohad territorial reorganization.

Overview

The site has visiting conditions, on-site information panels and archaeological objects displayed at the Museu Arqueológico e Etnográfico Manuel Vicente Guerreiro at Santa Clara-a-Nova and in the Tourism office of Almôdovar.

Visit conditions

Free entrance

Timetables

Contacts

Documents

    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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