Author Archives: sp146347-ovh

“Roman” road in Canelas, Gaia

(Originally published on June 20, 2014)

The Roman road XVI between Bracara Augusta and Olisipo crossed the current municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia passing by Santo Ovídio and Canelas; the only testimony we have of this road is a small section of the pavement discovered in the 1930s on «Senhora do Monte» Street during the works for enlargement of the national road EN1; there’s a picture published by Armando de Mattos in 1937 in his little book “As Estradas Romanas no Concelho de Gaia”. Since then, the road has been mutilated by repeated repairs to the national road and the construction of an urbanization that has destroyed a few hundred meters of the old road. What is left now are a few surviving slabs of the original pavement still in place on the side of the modern road. The deep furrows as a result of the wear and tear caused by cartwheels over the centuries, a sign of its antiquity. Coordinates:  41.088836, -8.591531
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“Roman” road in Ereira

(Originally published on February 25, 2014)

Next to the village of Ereira (Sever do Vouga) there is still a stretch of Roman cobblestone with about 100m belonging to the main road linking Talabriga (Cabeço do Vouga) to Vissaium (Viseu); The site is easily accessible from the road between Talhadas and Reigoso. Note the depth of the grooves narks left by the passing cartwheels attesting its antiquity; note also the rock cuts and the perfect fitting of the polygonal-shape stone slabs. Coordinates: 40.673164,  -8.297535

Milestone in Trofa?

(Originally published on February 25, 2014)

Next to the old Trofa Train Station there is a granite mark on the side of road that may have its origin in a milestone of the Roman road Bracara Augusta – Cale. The dimensions of the cylinder and in particular its quadrangular base, as well as its location, near the Roman road that passed through here towards Cale, reinforce the possibility of being a milestone of this road, even because there were several nearby. Since its closure in 2010, the station has been abandoned and the milestone is at risk of disappearing; Coordinates: 41.339480,  -8.553820

Mozarabe Church of St. Peter of Lourosa

(Originally published on September 13, 2013)

The Mozarabe Church of S. Pedro de Lourosa, built in the 10th century AD is one of few surviving buildings from the Early Middle Ages. Its has parallelism with the churches of S. Pedro de Balsemão in Lamego, São Gião in Nazaré and São Frutuoso de Montélios in Braga. The church was founded in 912 in accordance with to an inscription on the door lintel of the main entrance, a time when the Asturian reign still dominated the region. In its interior there’s a quite interesting baptistery consisting of an irregular circular base at floor level and an engraved channel to conduct the holy water; a time capsule that brings us to the beginnings of this Christian rite.

Many Roman materials were reuse in its construction probable taken from a previous Roman temple erected in the very same place based on the votive inscriptions found here (one Ara dedicated to a deity called Picio and another to Iupiter); at the church entrance there are some other Roman materials, namely an ara and a column base, and in the exterior wall around the yard there are some more reused Roman stones. The sanctuary was probable a stop point on the road linking the Roman city  of Bobadela (we still don’t know its name) and the gold rich Alva river where several mining explorations were identified. Departing from the church there’s still a well preserved section of the road in the direction of the village of Pombal, namely a stretch of the original pavement still intact. The name «Calçada Romana» is found afterwards going to Vila Pouca da Beira. Coordinates: 40.317455,  -7.931800

The Roman industrial complex at «Quinta do Lago»

(Originally published on September 13, 2013)

The archaeological site of «Quinta do Lago»

This archaeological site is located on the bank of the «Esteiro de Ancão» on grounds of the modern tourist resort called «Quinta do Lago» (next to Faro but formerly in Almansil, Loulé). This is a fish processing factory built in the first century AD that produced the famous garum, a fish paste from Lusitania much appreciated in Roman times; At least 5 salting tanks and other structures are still visible, with opus signinum-lined walls consisting of mortar gravel, hydraulic lime and sand for waterproofing the tanks.

This industrial complex was probably integrated in the fundus the Roman villa of «the Quinta do Ludo» a few miles inland, in an area now occupied by the new resort «Golf das Laranjeiras». This villa exploited the both agricultural and marine resources as many of the agro-industrial villae scattered across the coastline of Algarve. The monument is accessible through the resort southern golf course, but is in a rapid process of degradation. Coordinates: 37.025493,  -8.005853

The Roman bridge of Salamanca

(Originally published on September 13, 2013)

Some pictures recently taken of this monumental structure with 26 arches of which only the 15 date from Roman times. Salamanca’s Roman Bridge is one of the best preserved in the Iberian Peninsula. It was built in the first century AD and integrated the famous route between Emerita and Asturica, commonly known as «Via de la Plata». The monument highlights all the principles of Roman engineering for bridge construction, such as modularity; it’s 6 m wide allowing two-way traffic; holes on the borders allowed rainwater to flow out of the bridge. The ashlars have the typical forfex marks, demonstrating the use of mechanical tools for their positioning of the granite which by way was extracted 75 km from here (!), in the quarries of «Los Santos» close to Béjar.

The Roman bridge of Barreiros

(Originally published on September 12, 2013)

«Ponte de Barreiros», also known as «Ponte da Azenha» or «Ponte de Ronfes» is a bridge over the Leça River between Araújo and Maia, next to the National road EN13; This bridge was part of an old route linking Cale (Porto) to Limia (today Ponte de Lima) crossing the Cávado river in Barcelos, referred as “karraria antiqua” in medieval documents. The way is much older though with many pre-Roman settlements scattered along the way. It takes advantage of the natural corridors that exist between the rivers Douro and Lima and became a secondary road on the Roman network as no milestones were found on this route. The possible explanation for this could be in the fact that it misses the regional capital Bracara Augusta, the focal point for all main routes of the region back then. In medieval times became a major route to Santiago de Compostela and is still today the main way followed by pilgrims. Despite the rampant urbanisation It’s still possible to follow long sections the old way. The bridge suffered several reconstructions and repairs until reaching its present configuration, but the integration of some
cushioned ashlars in the arch staves on the right bank (visible in the photo) proves the reuse of materials from the previous Roman bridge. Coordinates:  41.224711,  -8.631817

Milestones at Vila Nova de Famalicão

(Originally published on September 12, 2013)

In the area of the city of Vila Nova de Famalicão there are two milestones related to the Via Bracara AugustaCale that passes close. One is now serving as decorative element at the city park in the former «Quinta da Devesa» and the following letter could still be read:
[…] CAES
[…] N? NO
[…] RACAR (A)
[…] III

Although very truncated, it is still possible to read the reference to Braga and the mileage count on the two last lines. This numeral suggests that it could indicate the 13th mile since Braga which is attained next to the Romanesque Church of Santiago de Antas in Famalicão; Coordinates: 41.409888, -8.507708

Another possible milestone is now outside the private chapel of the family house of «Quinta do Vinhal» close to the train station of Famalicão and it is visible from the road. Coordinates: 41.412486, -8.527252

Finally, the third picture refers to a possible fragment of milestone that is currently integrated into the western wall of the Cambonian Seminary next to the Church of Santiago das Antas; Rodriguez Colmenero proposed that this milestone is the same mentioned by Contador de Argote serving as the base of the cross that existed here, and dedicated to Emperor Caracalla (CIL II 4741). Coordinates: 41.402250, -8.510186

The engraved cross at «Lugar das Marcas»

(Originally published on January 21, 2013)

This impressive cross engraved in a boulder in the late 11th century is located on the left bank of Ave river and about 300 m from Lagoncinha Bridge. It is related to the demarcation of a large property (“Couto”) belonging to the Monastery of Santo Tirso. It could be related to this crossing point of the Ave river in Roman times since the Lagoncinha Bridge it’s a medieval construction with no signs of any Roman materials. There’s also a reference to an “old bridge” here in a document of the Monastery establishing the boundaries of the “Couto”. Coordinates: 41.348666, -8.515968

Bibliography: Barroca, Mário Jorge (2006). “A Cruz do Lugar das Marcas (Lousado, Vila Nova de Famalicão) e o Couto do Mosteiro de Santo Tirso”. FLUP

Milestones at Segura

(Originally published on November 15, 2013)

In the village of Segura (Idanha-a-Nova) there are several columns scattered around the village that may be milestones of the Roman road that passed through here to Merida. Within the village there are two small columns and at least one of them (near the South Gate) has the typical dimensions of these monuments. Leaving the village to the north via the Roman road that passes at the base of the Calvary hill, there are several columns at the side of the road and some tens of meters later another set of these columns showing signs of reuse as they present an orifice at the top and signs of being re-shaped; at least some of them are certainly milestones since they have the typical quadrangular base, an indicative feature that these columns were meant to be buried. These milestones are still unpublished so I can’t say anything more about their provenance , their reuse or why were they gathered here. Probably they will disappear soon due to their state of neglect. For when the appreciation of this important monuments?

Possible milestone lying down on the side of the road (note the square-shape base)

vide route here –