Category Archives: Sites

The archaeological collection of the Bética Hotel (Pias)

For many years Mr. Victor Hugo, founder and owner of Hotel Bética in Pias, was the
faithful keeper of the many archaeological materials that kept being found around the village.
We owe him the preservation of this objects that otherwise will lost or sell for the best price.
This interesting collection can be seen on the hotel lobby, namely coins, tegula, loom weights, glandes, rings, a small bronze figurine of a goat, and three inscriptions. Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact provenance of these findings as Mr Hugo couldn’t finalize the inventory of the collection due to his sudden death. Only his incredible collection of more than 200 Roman coins were subjected to a preliminary study in 2017 by Marco Paulo Valente but the work didn’t have any continuation.

Some of the archaeological materials on display at the hotel lobby

The collection includes also three stones apparently with the same inscription found close to the village :

We are tempted to associate these inscriptions to 5 ‘dolia‘ stamps connected to the high-medieval period found in the region containing the following inscription: «Eclesiae Sanctae Mariae Lacaltensis Agripi» (Canto, 1997; Wolfram, 2011). Thus the inscription could be read with some reserve as S(an)c(ta) La(caltense) D(ea) M(ariae) A(gripi). In this context, the stones could be landmarks delimiting the territory of the Lacaltenses. Curiously, in the Museum of Moura there’s a Roman inscription (a statue pedestal) dedicated to Iulia Agripa by the civitas Aruccitana (CIL II 963). Could they be related?

Canto, Alicia M. (1997)- “Epigrafía Romana de la Beturia Céltica”. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Valente, Marco P. (2017) – “Circulação monetária na Freguesia de Pias (Concelho de Serpa, Distrito de Beja). Quando Roma era Império”. in «Scientia Antiquitatis», vol. 1, nr. 2.
Wolfram, Mélanie (2011) – “Uma síntese sobre a cristianização do mundo rural no sul da Lusitânia”. FLUL – PhD Thesis.

Coordinates: 38.022248, -7.480839

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