December 3rd 2019
Alcalar: a settlement of the 3rd. millennium BC
in the far south-western corner of Europe
Elena Morán & Rui Parreira
During the third millennium BCE, a population cluster of considerable size developed in a site known today as Alcalar, about 8 km directly north of Alvor (Portimão). The settlement includes a central dwelling area and groups of monumental funerary tombs with corresponding ceremonial areas, covering altogether an area of more than 60 acres, and, over some eight centuries, it was the most outstanding political centre in the western Algarve, becoming the nucleus of the settlement network in the territory which stretched from the Serra de Monchique, in the north, to the Bay of Lagos, in the south.
Research carried in the last 25 years was based on archaeological excavations on the dwelling area, on monuments Alc7 and Alc9 and on the rock cut graves of Monte Cnelas, as well as on the interpretation of the magnetograms obtained by the geophysical prospecting of the settlement.
In this talk will be presented the main results of this research, which has been able to demonstrate how, in a place in the far south-west of Europe, the material manifestations provide information on the emergence, development and collapse of an economic and social structure that corresponds to the concept of an early class society and to the success and consolidation of a pristine form of state whose leaders live in and relate to those of the Atlantic-Mediterranean Peninsula arc in the third millennium BCE.
Elena Morán (Madrid, 1967) – PhD in Archaeology (Sevilla University, 2015). Master in Prehistory and Archaeology (Sevilla University, 2001). Graduation in in Prehistory and Archaeology (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 1990). She is an integrated researcher in the Uniarq/Unit of Archaeology of the Lisbon University. Since 2002, she has worked as a senior technician (archaeologist) at the Lagos City Council, in the area of urban archaeology management, and develops research projects, in partnership with national and foreign universities, convinced that safeguarding the archaeological heritage is a right of the community for the preservation of their collective memory. She published several papers and some books in the domains of Prehistory and Archaeology.
Rui Parreira (Lisbon, 1954) – Master in Archaeology (Oporto University, 1996); post-Graduation in Museum Curatorship (Centre for Museum Studies, Lisbon, 1984); Graduation in History (Lisbon University, 1977). He is a public server since October 1976. From 1980 to 1985, he was curator in the Archaeology National Museum, in Lisbon. From 1986 to 1997, he was a senior technician (archaeologist) in the South Portugal’s Regional Service of Archaeology, in Évora. From July 1997 to March 2004, he was director in the Sagres Fortress (Algarve). Since 2004, he is archaeologist in the Regional Directorate of Algarve for Cultural Affairs, in Faro, where he currently holds the position of director of services. As a pre-historian, he is a fellow researcher in the Uniarq/Unit of Archaeology of the Lisbon University, developing his main scientific research activity in the domains of Megalithic Architecture and historical processes of emergence and change of complex societies in Iberia in the 4th / 2nd millennia BCE, and directed and co-directed archaeological fieldwork in several sites in Algarve, Alentejo and Central Portugal. He published several papers and some books in the domains of Prehistory, Archaeology, Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage Management.