Pictures of an unpublished milestone on the Roman road linking Braga to Tui. It was reused as pillar of a balcony in a rustic house located in the village of Gosendos, parish of Sapardos, municipality of Vila Nova de Cerveira, 34 miles north of Braga. This milestone is about 2 m high and its faces have been thinned out so no trace of letters could be seen now. In the same place there are also two pig sinks made of a granite very similar to the milestone and with a diameter of about 0.5 m that may have been excavated from fragments of other milestones as in the case of the milestone found in the village of Romarigães. The photos were kindly sent by Ricardo Nunes. Coordinates: 41.922896, -8.662120
The construction of the Chapel of S. Bartolomeu das Antas near Rubiães reused 6 milestones found on the region; two of them support the chapel porch, one dedicated to Magnentius signalling 31 miles to Bracara Augusta (Braga) while the other is dedicated to Nerva indicating 36 miles. The remaining milestones are buried in upright position around the chapel: one dedicated to Julian of mile 33, one to MaximinusThrax and his son Maximus, one to Maximinus Daia with unreadable miles and finally one without inscription. Pictures of the milestones in the Chapel of S. Bartolomeu sent by Ricardo Nunes. Coordinates: 41.899527, -8.642961
Photos send by Paulo Manços of a fragmented milestone found in a site called «Moinho da Esparragosa» in the outskirts of Évora. This milestone was signalling most probably the route connecting Évora to the Lisbon.
The construction of the Mapungubwe National Park Interpretive Centre in South Africa was inspired by ancient Roman construction techniques such as the arched ceiling structure and the use of local materials for a new model of subtlety. The project, designed by John Ochsendorf, a professor of civil engineering and architecture at MIT, and built between 2007 and 2010, aims to demonstrate that it is possible to build modern buildings using inexpensive materials near the construction site (one of the rules). to minimize costs and reduce construction time), thereby significantly reducing energy consumption and pollution associated with construction projects. A time-lapse video about this building could be watched here.
TIME magazine has just published an interesting article about the recent use of the Roman amphora model in the production of high quality wines. Once again the validity of Roman technology is recognized for achieving excellence while ensuring the sustainability of the solution both in terms of energy and the materials used. The recent massification of the use of stainless steel vats has created some problems in the quality of the wines obtained namely in the production of Port Wine, forcing the use of micro-oxygenation and others processes to improve the bouquet, body and other characteristics of wines. In contrast, the porosity of the Roman vessels provide a natural micro-oxygenation without energy consumption. Another important advantage is the oval shape of the vessels that allows the formation of a vortex during fermentation which are attenuated by the angles of the traditional vats; the vortex can rotate for weeks facilitating the natural lifting of the sludge. Read original story here.
A section of the Roman road that passed by the Évora aerodrome was discovered due to the works of the future Aeronautical Industry Park. Although the passage of a Roman road in this area was already known, following the crossing of the river Xarrama in the Old Bridge of Xarrama, this discovery clarifies the exact layout of the road. As this section is just outside the city, hopefully this time the road will be properly kept in tow of the important necropolis discovered there. This section would be part of Antonino’s Itinerary XXI, linking Ebora with Pace Julia (now Beja), passing the Serpa, Arucci and Fines stations for which there are no defined locations yet. It is assumed, however, that this road would go in the direction of Portel and Moura, continuing later by Serpa until Beja.
A new book about Roman roads has just been published by researcher André Carneiro. The book entitled «Itinerários Romanos do Alentejo» ( “Roman Itineraries of the Alentejo”) is a rereading fifty years later of the singular work of Mario Saa (1893-1971) entitled «As Grandes Vias da Lusitânia – o Itinerário de Antonino Pio» (“The Great Roads of Lusitania – The Itinerary of Antoninus Pius”) published in six volumes between 1951 and 1967. Despite its imperfections, the work of Mário Saa is still of primordial importance for the study of the Roman roads in Portugal. He has been widely criticized for its fanciful interpretations, errors and inaccuracies. However, the pioneering spirit of the work and the amount of archaeological information contained in it deserve this rereading entirely in the light of current knowledge. André Carneiro thus tries to mark the routes proposed by Saa with the remaining evidence on the ground while integrating the enormous advances of recent years in the knowledge of the Roman road. Although this work is still far from being completed by pointing a direction and a way, André Carneiro’s work will certainly have a strong impact on future work on the study of Roman itineraries in the Alentejo.
Some pictures I took in Passau, former Batavis located, in the Roman province of Noricum, at the confluence of the rivers Danube and Inn, a strategic place for the defence of the empire of the Germanic tribes. Photos of the two existing milestones in the city; one is in the outer garden of Boiotro Castle, built on Roman foundations and now home to the Römer Museum; the other milestone, still in situ, is on a corner of the old town, next to the old city gate, in line with the old Roman road along the Danube (Donausüdstraße) from Vindobona, present-day Vienna, passing Batavis (Boiodoro on Antonino’s Itinerary) currently Passau, then on to Quintianis (Künzing) and Regino (Regensburg).
Photos of the old bridge over the Xarrama River in Évora. The bridge is located between Herdade da Barba Rala and Herdade da Chaminé and integrated the Roman road from Évora to Beja. Photos submitted by Paulo Manços. Coordinates: 38.530436,-7.916208
Photos of the Camoeira milestone in the headquarters of the public company «Estradas de Portugal» in Évora. The milestone was found close to «Solar da Camoeira» on the Roman road linking Évora to Beja signalling 11 miles to Évora. Photos kindly sent by Paulo Manços. Coordinates: 38.555409, -7.909823
The public company «Estradas de Portugal» (EP) responsible for the Portuguese road network carried out rehabilitation works on the Roman Bridge of Segura for structural reinforcement. As the bridge is not a classified monument and still used today EP took the responsibility of the works. The result was disastrous for the Roman monument because they chose to place modern cement to reinforce the pillars. This regrettable approach reveals an insensitivity and incompetence that only deserves to be censored, mainly because there are only 4 major Roman bridges left in Portugal and Segura bridge is one of them. The photos were kindly provided by Spanish researcher Juan Gil who alerted me to this situation. Coordinates: 39.817222, -6.981573
During renovation works taking place at Av. Norton de Matos in Tomar, two fragments of columns probably belonging to a milestone were unearthed. If this is the case, this landmark would belong to the Roman road linking Braga to Lisbon and passing in Tomar, then called Seilium. Given the proximity of the forum (at the back of the Municipal Fire Station) this milestone should thus indicate mile 94 from Lisbon, adding one more milestone to the following list:
Two milestones found in S. João do Couto and now in the Museu do Carmo in Lisbon; one dedicated to Tacitus, CIL II, 6197, and one to Maximian, CIL 6198;
Two milestones found in the Church of St. Maria dos Olivais;
A milestone discovered on Everard Street and buried there.
Mr. Manuel Geada kindly send me an interesting article from the newspaper “Diário do Alentejo” from 13th August 1938 with a brief description of the route linking Évora to Beja. The other route also mentioned linking Beja to the Algarve in fact doesn’t exist and is just a misinterpretation of Anthony’s Itinerary (Via XXI). See article here.
Emil Hübner identified a milestone dedicated to Emperor Hadrian found at Quinta do Dourado (or Quinta de Santo António, in Rua da Igreja Velha) which was later destroyed according to Martins Capela; however, this milestone could be now reused as the base of a cross in S. Mamede de Infesta cemetery (Porto); This milestone corresponds to the 31st mile of route XVI from Braga (Bracara Augusta) to Lisbon (Olisipo). Thanks to Alexandre Lima for sending the picture. Coordinates: 41.192346, -8.608485
The Roman Bridge of Negrelos over the Vizela River, linking the villages of Moreira de Cónegos and São Martinho do Campo is one of most important Roman vestige of the region. Despite being classified as a National Monument the bridge was in a pre-ruin situation (see photo) before its recent rehabilitation. What we see now is the result of several reconstructions over the centuries but there are still many signs of the original Roman bridge, as the overall structure with several arches and a flat pavement. Many materials were also reuse, namely several cushioned ashlars with the typical hole attesting the use of machinery in its construction. This bridge integrated a secondary route linking Guimarães to Porto. Coordinates: 41.366525, -8.355018
This is the reopening of the blog “Vias Romanas” originally published @ ‘viasromanas.blog.pt’ from 2007 to 2016. All posts will be written in English to reach a wider audience. Some older posts were republished to make them available online again.