Alcoutim’s new Roman discovery


An international team made up of Austrian and Portuguese archaeologists has unearthed the remains of a Roman ruin thought to date back to the first or second century BC, in the village of Laranjeiras on the banks of the Guadiana River in Alcoutim.

The dig started back in 2008 and it barely concluded this summer, when the ruin was unearthed alongside a plethora of Roman artifacts.

At the current time the site is covered with plastic sheets meant to protect the walls of what is the ground floor of the ruin. These walls have survived for more than two millennia and measure almost 2.5 metres in height, so it would truly be a shame if modern times would do them in.

The team of archaeologists also had an Alcoutim council member in its midst, Alexandra Gradim, who worked alongside researchers from Innsbruck University, Austria. According to the preliminary analysis this building would have had more than three floors, which means another two floors would’ve been supported by the 2.35 meters high ground floor walls. The building would have looked simply colossal to whoever came across the river, at its probable height of tem meters and width of 13.5 meters.

The building was located on top of a hill, which made it difficult to reach even by modern standards, so the building would’ve been very imposing on the landscape and a clear sign of the economic power of its owner. Considering the size and location of the building it is easy to correlate with Alcoutim and the commercial relationship that arrived via the Guadiana River. The link to the commercial aspect can be inferred from the fact that no remnants of a possible military past were found. What they did find were pieces of pottery and outline of pitchers that came from other places in the Mediterranean, such as Italy and the bay of Cadiz.

The site won’t be available for public visiting any time soon, due to the difficult to reach location as well as the high cost of preserving it for show purposes.