Thursday, April 30, 2015

0296 – Large ditched enclosures in Guadiana basin

A group of large ditched enclosures in the Middle Guadiana basin, an assemblage that is emerging from old and recent research, is rising quite interesting questions regarding the territorial organization in the 3rd millennium BC and the theoretical tools used to address it.

The complexity of Monte da Contenda. One of the sites to be discussed.

In May 20 I will be presenting, in the context of ERA meetings in Lisbon in collaboration with the Lisbon Society of Geography , a talk about the implications of this new “territorial perception” to the social organization of Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities in Southwest Iberia.

Large ditched enclosures like Monte da Contenda, Perdigões, Porto Torrão, Monte das Cabeceiras, Salvada, Herdade da Corte will be specifically addressed.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

0295 – PhD on Alcalar enclosure

It was recently presented a PhD thesis about Alacalar enclosure (Portimão, South Portugal) by Elena Morán entitled “Alcalar, organização do território e processo de formação de um estado prístino V-III milenio a.n.e.)” (Alcalar, territorial organization and formation process of a pristine state V-III millennium BC). It was presented at the Department of Prehistory of the Geography and History Faculty of Seville University.

Monday, April 20, 2015

0294 – Visiting Perdigões enclosure

In 2013, in the context of an archaeological meeting in Évora, a small group of participants visited Prdigões enclosure. In this photo, where the winter solstice orientation is being pointed out by me, we can recognize Primitiva Bueno, Rodrigo Balbín, Luc Laporte, Chris Scarre and Rosa Barroso Bermejo. 

The Perdigões Research Program is always pleased to receive visits from colleagues and other interested persons. This year excavation will be from 20 July to 15 August, so if you are interested in visiting please contact the Nia-Era department ( or

Monday, April 13, 2015

0293 - Structured depositions inside ditches

Structured deposition inside ditch 3 in Perdigões enclosure.

Is something that it is obvious in many situations and less in others. The difficulties of recognition are basically related to the fact that the logic presiding to the depositions has to be accessible by our own rationality. But different criteria and different categories of organizing the world do not make the task an ease one. Meaning is hard to establish, particularly in Prehistoric archaeology. So, many just argue that we should not attempt to interpret, while more or less inadvertently keep projecting familiar meanings into past contexts.

But, in fact, sometimes it is undeniable that there was an intention of communicating an idea or to practice an action expected to interfere with the course of events. That is the case of a particular deposition inside ditch 3 of Perdigões enclosure.

A tubular ceramic object, usually associated to the practice of copper metallurgy (used to introduce air into the ovens to arouse the fire), was deposited standing between two river pebbles. The composition, we might argue, corresponds to a phallic representation and suggests an association between masculinity (expressed by the phallus) and metallurgy (expressed by that specific object and its specific use in kipping and renewing the fire).

This is just one more specifically symbolic expression that was recorded inside a ditch in Perdigões. An intentional deposition easily recognizable by our categorization patterns. Others, however, are not so easily recognized by present perceptions and tend to be relegated to the “trash can”.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

0292 - Easter

There is no Easter without a rabbit. Here is the one from Perdigões ditched enclosure.

Friday, April 3, 2015

0291 - Just 2km away from Monte da Tumba...

Image of the excavated section of the ditch (photo by Tiago Nunes)

…walled enclosure dated from the Chalcolithic a new ditched site was discovered and a section of a ditch was excavated by Era Arqueologia (for Edia S.A.). It is a relatively small ditch where some manual pottery and faunal remains were recovered. The pottery is constituted only by simple hemi spherical bowls. Bones will be used for obtain radiocarbon dates in order to determine the chronology of this structure. Nearby there are several pits or hypogea with persevered human remains (but with chronology still uncertain). This is one of the most western ditched site in Alentejo, right in the limits of the geological border with the sandier lands of the Portuguese littoral platform.   

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

0290 – Perdigões interactions

Next week the exogenous materials of Perdigões complex of enclosures and the interaction networks that they traduce will be presented in Madrid. Results of research developed by several researchers from several institutions that collaborate with the Global Program of Archaeological Research of Perdigões coordinated by Era Arqueologia. The presentation will be in the context of the workshop "Key Resources and Socio-cultural Developments in the Iberian Chalcolithic" to be held in the German Archaeological Institute of Madrid and University of Alcalá de Henares.

Research on items made of ivory, cinnabar, limestone and marble, variscite and sea shells or large flint blades, bell beaker and other stiles of pottery will be discussed.

0289 - Visiting Santa Vitória

In the context of the congress organized by Era Arqueologia in 2012, held in Gulbenkian, Lisbon, and dedicated to debate the Recent Prehistoric Enclosures and Funerary Practices in Europe, a field trip was organized and Santa Vitória ditched enclosure was visited by the participants.

Part of the group. In the picture we can identify Alasdair Whittle, Niels Andersen and Alex Gibson. All with relevant work in European enclosures.
Perspective from the tower of observation of Santa Vitoria enclosure. That horizon was hiding a surprise.

At the time we did not suspected of the incredible complex of enclosures that was just behind that horizon line: Monte da Contenda.

Magnetogram of Monte da Contenda, just 3,5 km from Santa Vitória.

A paper about the preliminary data on this important complex of enclosures is in press in the Estudos Arqueológicos de Oeiras journal.