(Originally published on April 6, 2009)
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.