Excavations in Mértola reveal Roman remains

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During recent excavations in Mértola, an important ensemble was found that reveal vestiges of the Roman time in the place. Found as fragments of statues and even a monumental structure, were some of the objects unearthed from the Mértola Archaeological Field (CAM), excavations that take place in the basement of a building in the village of Alentejo.

Excavations have been carried out for two months at Casa Cor de Rosa, a building that is located in the oldest part of Mértola, in the district of Beja, in a work of the City Council. According to the CAM, in a statement released this week, the excavations have already identified and excavated “structures with a chronological scope”, ranging from the twentieth century to the pre-Roman period, around the fourth or third century before Christ (BC).

According to Susana Gómez of CAM, the results highlight the findings of the Roman period, the first “important set” of that time found in situ in Mértola, that is, in the context of excavations. Over the years, he recalled, CAM found in the Alentejo village “very important vestiges that are well known from the Islamic period,” but those that were discovered now “are older, will be from the Roman era”.

“There were other statues found in Mértola”, but these “had been fortuitous or very ancient discoveries made in the sixteenth century”, and that “are part of the collections of national museums”, she added.

Susana Gómez also pointed out that “it is the first time” that Roman sculptural elements “appear in a context of archaeological excavation”, which allows “to extract more information and, above all, to contextualize”. Its context is worth much more. The great discovery is due to this”.

According to CAM, this monumental structure, “built of stone and strong mortar of lime and two meters wide”, was found “at the deepest levels of the excavation”.

“From these structures is inferred a construction, with about 11 meters of side, that still conserves remnants of mortar walls and plastering with paint”, explained the Archaeological Field. The sculptural ensemble that archaeologists think is also from Roman times is now being excavated “at the lower levels, about 3.5 meters deep”, and a “substantial part of a torch” has already been identified.

“The findings are clearly of great importance and deserve particular attention”, CAM said, adding that it had discovered a total of six detrital fossils, possibly from the medieval-Islamic period.
The archaeological excavation continues, “in principle”, until the end of August, but the work of the archaeologists will continue, recalled Susana Gómez, adding that they will have to “record everything that is identified, to better contextualize the traces”, and, “work the materials” for a more rigorous dating.

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