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Ancient Roman port discovered in Portugal


A German-Portuguese team from the Universities of Algarve and Marburg, in partnership and with the Municipality of Vila do Bispo, have discovered a Roman port said to be in "an exceptional state of preservation."

Ancient Roman port discovered in Portugal
Credit: Postal
Currently located in a dry zone, this structure is formed by an imposing sandstone structure with an extension of more than 40 metres, from where there are preserved berthing stones for boats, a ramp and a water access ladder to the water of the ancient estuary of Boca do Rio.


During the Roman Period, the sea moved inland, forming an extensive lagoon, the current Paul da Boca do Rio/Lontreira, in whose right-hand margin developed an important fish processing complex, especially in the late second century AD, supplied by the now uncovered port.

Ancient Roman port discovered in Portugal
Credit: Postal
According to a press release sent by the Chamber of Commerce of Vila do Bispo, "this entire industrial complex was part of a maritime village which has been under archaeological excavation since 2016, with a large villa turned to the sea where several mosaics, painted frescoes and many other objects that document daily life and the activities of the local residents have been collected."


The Roman fishing site was abandoned in the first half of the fifth century, and was used again for tuna fishing in the sixteenth century, and again after the tsunami of 1755 in the eighteenth century. These fisheries of the modern era (re)used the Roman structures founded in the dunes to build their buildings that can still be seen today.

Ancient Roman port discovered in Portugal
Credit: Postal
The Boca do Rio site, internationally known for being one of the places that best preserves a record of the tsunami that followed the 1755 earthquake that swept through Lisbon, Cádis (in Spain) and good part of the Algarve coast, also reserves enormous archaeological interest.


In addition to the newly identified port, there are, hidden under the dunes, several factories that served for the production of the famous garum of the Romans, which, like the port, are in an exceptional state of preservation.

Ancient Roman port discovered in Portugal
Credit: Postal
The archaeological work carried out on the beach of Boca do Rio is part of the research project "Boca do Rio - a fishing site between two seas", coordinated by Professors João Pedro Bernardes, from the Centro de Estudos em Artes, Archaeology and Heritage (CEAACP) of the University of the Algarve, and Felix Teichner of the University of Marburg, located at the Centro de Acolhimento à Investigação - Núcleo de Investigação Arqueológica de Vila do Bispo.

Source: Postal [September 21, 2018]

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