Thursday, December 5, 2019

0428 - One year of Neolithic Perdigões

It was precisely one year ago that the book on the Neolithic phases of Perdigões enclosures was published online. During this year it was downloaded for almost a thousand times (980 to be precise). It deals with the emergence of the site and its first 500 years of development, between 3400-2900 BC.
To be downloaded here.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

0427 - Borralhos ditched enclosure

Borralhos ditched enclosure was detected in Google satellite images in the context of the research developed by NIA-ERA (the research unit of ERA Arqueologia SA) regarding the prehistoric ditched enclosures in South Portugal. In that same research context geophysics was done. The Nia-Era team, with Taigo do Pereiro, António Valera and Ana Catarina Basílio, did the geophysics of the site with a fantastic result. The magnetogram was first published here and was also presented at the last Iberian Southwest Archaeology  Meeting (held in Zafra, 2018). Its detailed description and archaeological interpretation will be published soon. But this is one more fantastic image of a fantastic enclosure, resulting from personal and institutional commitments that, with a scientific agenda, are simultaneously trying to save this kind of  heritage that is threatened by the savage agricultural practices that are transforming (razing?) Alentejo landscapes.
There is some irony here. Agriculture was related to their origins and agriculture is now related to their destruction. Hopefully, this one will be saved. But apart from that, the image is already material for research, being used by the team to question some specifics of the Prehistoric ditched enclosures of the Guadiana basin in coming talks and publications..

Part of the magnetogram of Borralhos, done by the NIA-Era team.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

0426 - Publication: Cardim 6 - a tholos from the enclosure of Porto Torrão

The study of Cardim 6, a tholos belonging to the complex of ditched enclosures of Porto Torrão (Ferreira do Alentejo, Beja) is published and available for free download here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

0425 - Portuguese enclosures in meeting

A meeting to commemorate the classification of Perdigões enclosure as National Monument will be held at Carmo Museum in Lisbon next November 23. Here is the program.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

0424 - The (new) twilight of enclosures

A couple of years ago I wrote a paper about the twilight of prehistoric enclosures (see here). It was about the end of enclosures in the late 3rd millennium BC. We are again in the 3rd millennium, now AC, and the enclosures (as heritage) are vanishing again, now at the hands of intensive agriculture. Three more were recently affected or destroyed: Nobre, Folha do Ouro and the large complex of enclosures of Herdade da Corte. 

Folha do Ouro (Serpa)

Herdade da Corte (Serpa)

Nobre 2 (Beja)

The administration continues to do almost nothing, and the silence is general. We are at un elections campaign, but nobody brings up the issue of the systematic destruction of archaeological heritage in Alentejo region. We are only concerned with the destruction of our dreams for the future and seems there is no room for a concern with historical memories. It would be an irony if it wasn’t simply stupidity. As if we could dream without a memory.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

0423 - Back to Santa Vitória enclosure

Entering the inner ditched enclosure of Santa Vitória. Flight done in the end of the last campaign (2018) by Era Arqueologia. 

Next Monday the Era Arqueologia team will be back to the second campaign of the new research project in Santa Vitória (see project goals here), directed by A.C. Valera and A.C. Basílio. The project is developed by Era Aqueologia, with the logistic support of the Municipality of Campo Maior and the institutional collaboration of Direcção Regional de Cultura do Alentejo.

Monday, August 19, 2019

0422 - A Continental Beaker (influence) in Perdigões?

From the later contexts in the central area of the enclosures, this beaker with a high profile and an unseen decoration (circular jagged impressions, almost as stamps) presents a stylistic proximity to some continental beakers, namely in the shape.

Similar high profiles are not common in Iberia, but some are known, also with unused decorations in the walled enclosure of Fraga da Pena (Beira Alta, Central Portugal) with a similar chronology (end of the 3rd millennium BC).

Mobility comes to mind.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

0421 - A timber circle in the centre of Perdigões enclosure

Perdigões central enclosure (timber circle). Unique in Iberia, this structure recently identified reinforces the importance of this National Monument that has been in research by Era Arqueologia for the last 20 years.

Friday, June 21, 2019

0420 - New image of ditches at Porto Torrão

The overlapping of two different images allowed the identification of several sections of ditches in the large archaeological complex of Porto Torrão (Ferreira do Alentejo, Beja). Some are the continuation of ditches already surveyed (dotted lines), but others correspond to new ditches that define central enclosures, where at least one gate is visible.

This image was published in the book dedicated to the tholoi tomb of Cardim 6, available for download here.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

0417 - New campaign at Perdigões enclosure

Is now in course the 2019 campaign of excavations at Perdigões enclosures. You may follow the news here.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

0416 - Talk about the dramatic situation of Portuguese Ditched Enclosures

Next week, in Serpa (Alentejo, South Portugal), I will be speaking about the actual situation of Portuguese Ditched Enclosure in the region, where these sites have their major concentration and reach the higher monumentality in Portugal.
It is an event integrated in the commemoration of the  International day of Monuments and Sites, that, unfortunately, we have to use to show what we don't do and should be doing regarding heritage preservation.
I will be talking about the drama that Prehistoric ditched enclosures are facing. They represented the social trajectory of Neolithic communities until the end of the 3rd millennium BC, when this path collapsed and ditched enclosures with it. They didn't do well with the transition from the 3rd to the 2nd millennium BC.
Well, again, they are not doing well with another millennium transition, now from the 2nd to the 3rd millennium AC. In Alentejo, they were born with agriculture (not out of agriculture, as some argue), and their archaeological remains are now being destroyed by it.
I will try to show their historical, cultural and social value, and show that are several that still can be saved from the cultural, social, environmental and heritage disaster that is happening in Alentejo, sponsored by the Portuguese Government.

Monday, March 18, 2019

0415 - New image on Folha do Ouro ditched enclosure

This new areal image of Folha do Ouro enclosure, located in Serpa municipality, Alentejo, South Portugal, shows a magnificent enclosure. This enclosure was detected in google earth and published by me and Tiago do Pereiro in 2013. It has now a clearer image, that shows that it is also a sinuous ditched enclosure, similar to Xancra, Outeiro Alto 2, Santa Vitória and the recently submitted to geophysics Borralhos. They all show this pattern of regular sinuous ditched that are a characteristic of the design of the Guadiana Basin ditched enclosures.

Friday, February 1, 2019

0414 - Human bones in ditches

It has just been published a paper about the deposition of human remains in ditches during Recent Prehistory in South Portugal, centered in the case of Perdigões, but integrating it in the Iberian context.
It is a chapter of the book Fragmentation and Depositions in Pre and Proto-Historic Portugal that can be download here:

Thursday, January 10, 2019

0413 - Perdigões enclosure is a National Monument

Perdigões  is the first prehistoric ditched enclosure to be classified as a National Monument in Portugal. After 21 years of continuous research, the site and the knowledge that has been produced about it, have finally received the recognition of the Portuguese state. In a period when many prehistoric ditched enclosures are being affected by agriculture in Alentejo region, this is a light.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

0412 - Perdigões publication

It was published the volume 1 of the series of monographs of Perdigões ditched enclosure. It reports only to the Neolithic phase of the site. It can be download here.

Friday, December 28, 2018

0411 - New image of the new affected one

The enclosure of Nobre 2 was discovered in Google Earth and published by me and Tiago do Pereiro in 2013 (Valera, Pereiro, 2013). It was recently affected by agriculture, as reported in the previous post. Here is a new aerial image of the enclosure (from EDIA), where the ditches are must more clear and we can perceive an alignment of three gates orientated at 140º. It might be  very similar to Xancra and to the recently prospected Borralhos.
 It is important to do, at least, some geophysics there before the plantation.

Valera, A.C., Pereiro, T. do (2013), “Novos recintos de fossos no sul de Portugal: o Google Earth como ferramenta de prospecção sistemática”, Arqueologia em Portugal 150 anos, Actas do I congresso da Associação dos Arqueólogos Portugueses, Lisboa, AAP, p.345-350.

Friday, December 21, 2018

0410 - Another enclosure affected by agriculture

It doesn't stop and just gets worth. In Alentejo, archaeological sites continue to be affected by the agricultural changes, and if in some cases there is preliminary archaeological work, in many other situation sites are affected or destroyed and nothing or very little happens.

This is another situation of a Chalcolithic ditched enclosure, with at least three concentric ditches, detected in Google Earth and published and reported to the Municipal Plan, that was recently affected by the preparation of the field for another plantation of intensive exploitation (almonds or olive trees).

Heritage is being destroyed at an impressive rhythm in Alentejo. 


Thursday, November 22, 2018

0408 - Perdigões web musuem blog

Perdigões ditched enclosure has now a new blog, called Perdigões Museum, to display online to the general public some of the more exquisite archaeological findings in the site.

You may find it here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

0407 - Discussing the end of prehistoric ditched enclosures

Next weekend (16-17 November 2018), in Coimbra, the transition between the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC in Western Iberia will be discussed. This is the moment of the twilight of ditched enclosures in Iberia. The reasons for the collapse of the social trajectory of Neolithic and Chalcolithic societies will debated as well as what followed.

My contribution: Death in the Occident Express: reasons for a social collapse in the end of the 3rd millennium BC in Iberia Southwest.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

0406 - Perdigões and IFR

Perdigões Research Program is now a partner of IFR (Institute for Field Research), integrating the field schools program provided by the institute.

 See here.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

0405 - New geophysics of Portuguese Ditched Enclosures

Presentation at the X Archaeology of Southwest Iberia meeting, next November 9th in Zafra, Spain.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

0404 - Tomb 4 of Perdigões ditched enclosures

The results of the recent excavation of tomb 4 of Perdigões ditched enclosures will be presented next November 9th, in the Archaeology of Iberian Southwest meeting in Zafra, Spain.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

0403 - The twilight of Perdigões

In next September 24 and 25 I will be presenting a synthesis of the available data on Perdigões later phases of use. It will be at a workshop promoted in Lisbon by a team from the Kiel university that is interested in the problems related to climate change occurred by the end of the 3rd millennium BC and their repercussions in the social trajectories of the time. The confluence of interests (the next project that is being designed for Perdigões dedicates particular attention to the social changes in the Late Chalcolithic / Early Bronze Age) has been leading to a collaboration between this university and ERA Arqueologia regarding ditched enclosures (at the moment, we are collaborating in completing the geophysics of Monte da Contenda).

Monday, September 10, 2018

0402 - Santa Vitória: the usual

The work in Santa Vitória has been mainly cleaning. Namely the already excavated ditches, from which there is no new information to collect. 

But in ditch 2 we started to define a new section and the top of preserved fillings, and the expected is there. Like in many other ditches of many other enclosures, Santa Vitória is also presenting recutings filled with layers of stones.

Friday, August 31, 2018

0401 - SANVIT 2018_2021

Visit to Santa Vitória in the context of the international meeting organized by ERA in 2012 (Gulbenkian, Lisbon) on "Ditched enclosures and funerary practices", later published in the British International Reports.

Next Monday the project "Santa Vitória: temporalities, Architectures and Social Practices in a ditched enclosure - SANVIT", developed by Era Arqueologia in collaboration with Campo Maior municipality and DRC of Alentejo, will start, with the first campaign of field work, co-directed by me and Ana Catarina Basílio.

The project is linked to the Perdigões enclosure's one, not just because of the institutions and people involved, but mostly by the scientific inquiry, as can be deduced from the project abstract:

" The project is focused on the ditched enclosure of Santa Vitória (classified as site of public interest, and property of the State) located in the municipality of Campo Maior, Portalegre district. It aims to apply a scientific inquiry that allows the comparing of the social dynamics and the temporalities of a small ditched enclosure with the ones that have been identified in a large complex of enclosures such as Perdigões.
It is intended to produce information that responds to the present problems involving ditched enclosures and that, simultaneously, allow the construction of a comparative frame for different/similar dynamics observed in Perdigões. We want to comprehend how two apparently different biographies can be integrated in a frame of shared principles, but expressed in distinct ways and durability. Therefore, the project will be developed in strict connection with the Perdigões Global Research Project.

The specific main goals are:

- Obtain the global plan of the site through geophysics;
- Built a chronological frame for the site and establish its temporalities;
- Characterize the social practices that took place at the enclosures and its periphery and the processes of filling of negative structures;
- Determinate the levels of interaction, in terms of exogenous materials and mobility of animals and (if possible) humans.
            - Characterize the material culture accessing style and technology;
            - Contextualize the site in the local settlement network;
            - Evaluate the conservation situation of the structures previously excavated and exposed for several decades and define a plan of intervention, aiming the preservation of the site;
            - Develop a program of public display and heritage education associated to the site.

For starting, though, we have a hard task ahead, for the site is covered with bushes. 


Saturday, June 9, 2018

0400 - The geophysics of a new one

Here is a new image of geophysics for a Portuguese Prehistoric Enclosure, just finished few days ago. A twin of Xancra, just a bit more complex.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

0399 - Santa Vitória. The new project of ERA at a ditched enclosure

It has just been approved a new research project, promoted by the ERA team (in a partnership with the DRC-Alentejo and Municipality of Campo Maior), to approach the ditched enclosure of Santa Vitória, at Campo Maior, Alentejo. This project aims to compare the social dynamics of a smaller enclosure with the ones of a large and complex one as Perdigões. So, the two projects will be in sound articulation.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

0397 - Mobility at Perdigões

Tomorrow at the Archaeological National Museum at 11.20. The last results (while waiting for the next ones) of the project on mobility of humans and animals at Perdigões enclosures..

Friday, March 30, 2018

0396 - Perdigões: back in Easter.

This year, the campaign at Perdigões enclosures will start earlier, just after Easter. From April 2, and during six weeks, you may follow the excavations here. Tomb 4 will be excavated.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

0395 - Stimulating Geophysics in Portuguese Archaeology

Era Arqueologia is going to support research projects through geophysics.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018

0391 - New paper about Perdigões.

A new paper about Perdigões has just been published. It addresses Tomb 2, a tholoi type monument, with construction dated from the first half of the 3rd millennium BC, but with a later use in the second half of that same millennium, in beaker times, with some beaker items (like gold foils and ivory button), but with no beakers. Something that is common in Perdigões, as the next paper, coming out tomorrow, discusses.

Friday, February 9, 2018

0390 - New Master Thesis about Perdigões

A new Master thesis was defended at the University of Algarve about the social role of Bell Beakers at Perdigões enclosures. The studied context confirmed a previous idea that beakers were added to a ongoing social trajectory and do not represent a rupture or structural change in that trajectory. And that Beakers have diversified social roles, that, in a context of a wider scale of shared ideas, present regional heterogeneity that cannot be reduced to "monotetic" theoretical formulas.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

0389 - More ivory while selecting teeth for mobility analysis

Some ivory items, with focus on the decorated plaque.

In the context of the project to characterize human mobility at Perdigões enclosure we are enlarging the sample of Tomb 2. We have been reviewing the bones and selecting teeth, namely from some stratigraphic units not yet studied. Bones were still packed from the field, and mixed with them some more votive materials: arrow heads, beads and ivory items.

Some of the ivory items are decorated fragments of plaques, with geometric motives, that are similar to others present in other Southern Iberian large ditched enclosures, like Valencina de la Concepción. With the conclusion of the study of Tombs 1 and 2, and the ongoing study of the cremated remains of Pit 40, the paper about the ivory items in Perdigões, published in World Archaeology (Valera et al, 2015), needs a significant updating.

Teeth to be selected for analysis

Other votive materials

And an item from Valencina similar to the decorated fragment from Tomb 2 of Perdigões (taken from Garcia Sanjuán et al, 2013)

Bibliographic References:

García Sanjuán, L., M. Luciáñez Triviño, Th. X. Schuhmacher, D. Wheatley, and A. Banerjee 2013. “Ivory craftsmanship, trade and social significance in the southern Iberian Copper Age: the evidence from the PP4-Montelirio sector of Valencina de la Concepción (Seville, Spain).” European Journal of Archaeology 16,4: 610-635.
Valera, A.C., Schuhmacher, T.X., Banerjee, A. (2015), “Ivory in the Chalcolithic enclosure of Perdigões (South Portugal): the social role of an exotic raw material”, World Archaeology, 47:3, 390-413.

Friday, February 2, 2018

0388 - Preparing for excavating Tomb 4 at Perdigões

Click on the image to enlarge

To prepare the excavation of Tomb 4 at Perdigões Era team did some more geophysics to improve the available image. Here you may compare the previous image (on the left) of the monument with the new one (on the right, over the previous one). The difference is remarkable and a lot of useful information about the architecture is provided.

We will starting to adopt this procedure to other specific areas of the enclosures to get more detailed information.

Friday, January 12, 2018

0387 - Perdigões Tomb 4

Yesterday the Era team went back to Perdigões to do some more geophysics. This year, another tomb will be excavated in the context of the project on human mobility. This tomb was already identified in the published magnetogram, but now we manage to improve the quality by using another measuring grid.
It is clearer now that it looks like another monument with a circular chamber, small passage, like Tomb 1, also oriented to 90º. It also seems to have some sort of mound still preserved.

This image will be of great help for planning the excavations.