Grants / SupportPersuant to the objectives of the Association grants have been made to archaeological projects. Excavations in Alvor, Faro, Martinhal, Estoi, Alcoutim, Alcalar e.a have been supported including equipment, professional testing fees, accommodation, and AAA volunteers. In recent years we have also provided tuition and thesis-work assistance to students at the Universidade do Algarve and to 2 Algarve students of underwater archeology to study in Lisbon.
Currently we have approved 3 grant applications :
Ana Osório for experimental archaeological workshops on Bronze Age pottery production.
Joana Baço for a study and analysis of anchors from the Bay of Lagos.
Tiago Fraga for the continuing underwater exploration for the Spanish Patacho in the bay at Martinhal.
This year we have sponsored 3 students from the Archaeology Faculty of the Faro University in order to cover their expenses for field work/ research to be done for their final
thesis. Following a presentation about the AAA to the archaeology students in general the prizes were awarded to the 3 qualifying students (from left to right on picture with AAA president Florian Fuhrmann) :
Fransisco Correia – Iron Age Dog Burials at Quinta do Almaraz (Almada, Portugal).
Rui Ramos – Lithic Technology from Areeiro of Aerodrome East, Leria, Portugal.
Celso Candeias –The Cerro do Cavaco settlement in the Roman Process of Iberia: Archaeological surface prospection inta-site.
In addition grants were supplied to:
José Manuel Marreiros of the Associação de Defensa do Património Histórico e Arqueológico de Aljezur - for restoration of an Islamic ceramic vessel (Aljezur)
Tiago Fraga - for the Archaeological Survey for the Patacho Pedro Diaz (Lagos Bay). See report of visit to site in Martinhal. on 07Nov12
Pedro Barros and Samuel Melro - for the study and report on human remains from the necropolis at Abóbada (Almodôvar) Estela Project. The project has a blog which is
Elena Morán - for the study of the faunal (mammal) remains recovered from Alcalar.
Earlier this year the AAA visited the kiln site at Martinhal and the Roman site at Boco do Rio. Subsequently the AAA has been able to give a grant to João Bernardes who is continuing his excavations at Martinhal this summer. His objective is to study the Roman ‘working area’ and to record a pottery kiln which contains complete amphorae and is danger of erosion and collapse. See report and pictures under the tab Excavations
In March this year Alexandra Gradim presented a lecture about the archeology in the province of Alcoutim (see reports of lectures). In June Alexandra guided a group of AAA members to the various sites (see reports of Algarve trips). This summer she will continue excavating at the site of Castelinho dos Mouros with the help of foreign students and AAA volunteers. The AAA supported Alexandra with the funds to buy a camera suitable for the archeological work.
Near the end of the year we received a request from Luiz Oosterbeek of the Instituto Polytechnico of Tomar (IPT) to help salvage 2 projects that had been ongoing but were cut short of budget because of the credit crisis. We have been able to help with a grant in 2010 and another portion in 2011.
Grant donation to Luiz Oosterbeek and the 2 students Sara and Cristiana responsible for the 2 projects.
The research center of the IPT is based in the Museum of Prehistoric Art of Mação, and is primarily concerned with transition periods (first human settlements in Portugal, transition from the Lower to the Middle Paleolithic, transition into the Holocene and the dawn of agriculture). Technology and Rock Art, and in general the relations between technology and symbolism in human adaptation mechanisms, are the focus of concern. Finally, heritage management is also a major research line in the group.
June 2011: Following the work Sara was able to show (thanks to the AAA grant) she won a research scholarship from the FCT (fund for science and technology) to continue her studies on the rock art of the Tagus River.
Rock art project
The project on rock art is interested in understanding the cultural relation between the rock art evidences in the Tagus basin and the overall socio-economic trends in the transition into food production. The main activity is to draw the more than 2.000 latex casts (see picture left), made in the early 1970’s, on rocks with thousands of engravings, now under the water reservoir of the Fratel dam. Systematic analysis of the casts has never been done. Now, almost 40 years later, this tracing work is crucial to produce new knowledge and a comprehensive understanding of the art complex. Both from a scientific-historic and patrimonial perspective, this is a major project. The archaeological problem is the difficulty to relate rock art sites and other prehistoric sites, since direct relations are very rare. A new approach to the available casts, together with the new surveys, looks primarily at engravings stratigraphy and distribution patterns (these being articulated with the settlement patterns that were already identified).
The project on environmental changes is another major and innovative project. For long, the indicators of environmental degradation (fires, replacement of forest by shrub vegetation) have been associated with the first farmers (that, using the slash and burn method, presented by Gordon Childe as the dominant agricultural method in these early times, would contribute to the loss of productivity of the soils). Research of the IPT a few years ago identified indicators of degradation before 6.000 BC, i.e., before the first farming activities. In the last year and a half any indicators of vegetation degradation in the Tagus basin and in Iberia, prior to 5000 BC. has been looked at in detail. More and more evidence is found that a natural, rather than anthropic, process may be in place. Main arguments in favour are: the absence of a deep ice cover in the Pleistocene (that helped producing the loess highly productive soils of central and northern Europe); the latitude of Iberia, that tended to anticipate the effects of the Holocene climatic changes, thus arriving earlier than in the northern territories to the so-called telocratic (decay) phase of the environmental natural evolution; the knowledge of dry episodes in the Holocene, namely around 6600 BC and 5600 BC (that could have accelerated an impoverishment of the soils and, as a consequence, may have had an influence in the decision of human groups to become farmers). Arguments that refrain this are, mainly, the absence of undisputed evidence and the absence of well dated palynological contexts. The IPT has hence engaged such a project, looking simultaneously to the climate and the environment.
Some remaining rock art was visited during the AAA trip to the Tejo valley
2009: Tiago Fraga was given a grant to train students in underwater archaeology. Tiago has given several lectures to the AAA about underwater archeology. On 02Jan2008: The Lagos Survey and 06 May 2008: Investigation into the wreck of the Santo António de Tanná in Mombasa Harbour. On 07Dec2010 he gave a lecture titled "Diving in the bay of Lagos" about this project. See the Reports of Lectures
Tiago Fraga’s underwater archaeological studies continued this summer. With sponsorship from the AAA it was a very successful season for him and the 9 young students participating. Previously it was considered that the 1912 wreck of a gunship was likely to be a good training exercise with no great archaeological importance …however…. through the work this summer it has come about that here is something mysterious about the fate of the ship and that this can only be investigated and explained by maritime archaeologists. ----- The ‘Steam Star’, built in the late 19th century was a two-masted sailing rig with a steam engine. It is one of the rare examples of English ship construction for the Portuguese navy - the blueprints for this and two other similar vessels having been lost in a fire. The planking on a steel skeleton had been in wood with inner and outer steel sheathing in order to absorb the impact of cannon balls. This supposedly strong vessel accidentally rammed a wooden civilian ship, with the result that her bow section broke off. The ‘Steam Star’ sank rapidly, taking three members of her crew with her. The other vessel was only damaged. The question is: How could this happen? – Was there a fault in the material? – Was it due to lack of maintenance? – or - more severe: Did the English not cling to their own high standards for constructions to be delivered abroad?. These are the questions that Tiago Fraga wants to answer through investigation combined with the education of a new generation of Marine archaeologists.
Serious scientific work can only begin after the students are sufficiently trained in working underwater and in the use of equipment. Unfortunately this year’s study had to be ended as no other funding from other sources could be found, apart from that provided by the AAA. Tiago is hoping that his project will be better supported next year and he gave his warm thanks to the AAA in that we were able to provide him with the opportunity to show what can and should be done in this specialist field of archaeology, and, thus may have prompted closer interest from governmental institutions.
Tiago overlooking the procedures.
Portugal and the world. Our goal is to understand the amazing technology humans have created to survive in
one of the most hostile environments Earth has to offer us and to understand the maritime culture’s level of
participation on the shaping of the modern world. George Bass states “Long before there were farmers there were sailors”. Sailors have with their blood and lives built the world. As they explored, traded, fought and died they were carriers of news, of ideas, of new foods and of new technology. Sailors proved that the world was round, they linked earth’s continents, they were the first line of defence for several countries, and they were responsible for the economic prosperity that brought our society to today’s advancement. Even today most of the bulk traffic of the world is under the tender care of sailors. However, because sailors have very little participation on “land life” they have always been seen as second class citizens, and have been neglected in mankind’s tale. In the present time, scientists are trying to understand how did this culture impacts history, how did their technology evolve and what was the extent of their participation on humankind's development. Not only to repair a past injustice, but also to plan for a better future. Our contribution to this study comes from understanding the maritime aspects of Lagos and at the same time to find and study shipwrecks that fill the gaps of our current knowledge of shipbuilding.