August 2016 I joined an excavation in the Beja region of Portugal.
The Outeiro do Circo site is a large fortified settlement dating to the Late Bronze Age (1250-850 BC). The site is located on an elongated hill in the Alentejo plain which is made up of rich agricultural soils called “Black Clay’s”. Many archaeological sites dating from the 2nd and 1st millennium BC have been discovered in the surrounding region.
The Outeiro do Circo settlement site is bordered almost entirely by an impressive defensive wall that encloses an area of about 17 hectares. The settlement was enclosed not only by a double wall but also by bastions and moats: a complex defensive system for the ancient community. Furthermore, the size of the enclosed area makes this one of the largest settlements of this time period in the Iberian Peninsula. The 2016 excavation season focused on the interior of this wall and the settlement itself in order to develop a better understanding of the ancient inhabitants’ daily life.
In addition to the archaeological excavations the project has a strong social action agenda to involve the local community. For instance, the team offers guided tours of the site, local volunteers can participate in the excavation and updates are published in the local and regional press. Even more focused on the surrounding modern community are initiatives to gather information about local traditions and knowledge as well as to raise awareness of importance and relevance of the region’s archaeological heritage.
More information about the Outeiro do Circo site and the Beja region of Portugal can be found here: