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Caladinho Archaeological Project 2013: Excavation of a Late Iron Age/Early Roman Tower

Location: Redondo, Portugal

June 2, 2012 to June 30, 2012

Application Deadline: 
Monday, April 15, 2013

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Flyer: PDF icon caladinho_poster_2013.pdf

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



PortAnta Archaeological Research Cooperative

Project Director:

Joey Williams, University at Buffalo, and Rui Mataloto, Camara Municipal de Redondo

Project Description

The Caladinho Archaeological Project is seeking qualified applicants for its 4th season of excavation at Caladinho in the central Alentejo region of Portugal.

Excavation of the Structure
Previous fieldwork at Caladinho uncov-ered the remains of a fortified structure related to the Roman colonization of the region in the first century B.C.E. Caladinho is the first example of one of these small, fortified, rural structures to be systematically excavated in the Alentejo region. The primary goal of this project is the identification of the inhabitants, the chronology of the site's occupation, and its place within the larger regional context. This upcoming season of fieldwork will complete the excavation of the main structure and continue targeted archaeological reconnaissance of the remainder of the site.

Material Culture
The last three seasons of fieldwork at Caladinho have revealed many thousands of artifacts, and their analysis plays an important role in our understanding of the site. Thus far, several thousand sherds have already been analyzed in our field lab, and this work has greatly aided our interpretation of Caladinho, its occupational history, and its place within the larger region. Students on the project will have the opportunity to work closely with recording and analyzing artifacts both in the field and in the lab and, under the direction of experienced supervisors, gain an understanding of the material culture from this period and region. Understanding the material culture at Caladinho sheds light on the inhabitants of this structure as well as social and economic connections of the central Alentejo in the first century B.C.E.

Regional Responses to Ancient Colonization
Given that many similar structures dot the Alentejan landscape, Caladinho's position within the larger regional context is quite important to its interpretation. These small, fortified structures appear at the moment of the colonial encounter between Romans and indigenous Lusitanians. Large-scale survey of the Alentejo, undertaken in response to the building of the Alqueva Dam, has revealed numerous archaeological sites which, when considered together, paint a picture of indigenous resistance, imperial acquisition, and a complex negotiation of territorial and ideological boundaries. By contextualizing Caladinho as part of a larger, regional response to colonial action, we hope to shed light on the processes, responses, and entanglements which resulted from the Roman reorganization of this region.

GIS Analysis and Surveillance
Caladinho's location affords it a superlative view of the surrounding countryside, and the other structures of this type are similarly positioned within the landscape. Analysis of these structures via Geographic Information Systems (GIS) modeling suggests that surveillance played an important role in determining the location of many of these structures. Our work seeks to re-theorize surveillance and surveillance structures in the archaeological record in order to better understand surveilled landscapes in a colonial context. Through viewshed analyze of Caladinho and many other sites in the region, we are creating a model of a colonial environment in which "watching" and "being watched" are categories embedded in the landscape. This data and analysis suggests a new way to understand how control over trade routes, population centers, and natural resources was gained and maintained in this and other regions.

Field school students will receive instruction in excavation and surveying techniques, the handling and processing of artifacts, and the drawing of exposed areas and features.

Period(s) of Occupation: Early Roman Period

The Caladinho Archaeological Project is seeking qualified applicants for its 4th season of excavation at the site of Caladinho, Portugal. Last summer, our team uncovered the remains of a fortified structure related to the Roman colonization of the region in the 1st century BCE. This upcoming season of fieldwork will complete the excavation of the main structure and continue targeted archaeological reconnaissance of the remainder of the site.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 2 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
No previous archaeological experience is required.

Room and Board Arrangements

Students are housed in the town of Redondo, Portugal, very near to the archaeological site. Space is communal, and most rooms house two or more students (sometimes on bunk beds). Sleeping arrangements are separated by gender. We share a kitchen, bathrooms, washing machine, and living room, and so we also share the responsibility of cleaning these spaces.
The project provides three meals per day on weekdays. Breakfast is provided at the dig house, and students are expected to prepare it themselves. Lunch is served at a local restaurant, and dinner is provided by other local restaurants but eaten at home. Students should expect to eat the traditional cuisine of the Alentejo region. We make every effort to accommodate vegetarians, but any participant with special dietary requirements or food allergies must contact us before the beginning of the project. On weekends, students should expect to provide their own meals. Redondo has some restaurants that stay open on weekends, and there are two grocery stores in town as well as numerous cafes and shops. Since we often take field trips on weekends, students have the opportunity to sample the restaurants of other towns and regions.
The project provides transportation while students are in Portugal. Students must purchase their own plane tickets to and from Lisbon, Portugal. We meet students at the Lisbon airport when they arrive and bring them to Redondo, Portugal. At the end of their two-week or four-week session, we also transport students back to Lisbon, either directly to the airport or elsewhere in the city if they are planning on a longer stay after the project. Please be sure to inform us of your travel plans as far in advance as possible!

€700 for two weeks, €1,300 for four weeks

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Joey Williams
338 MFAC, Dept of Classics, University at Buffalo
Recommended Bibliography: 

Alarcão, J., P. C. Carvalho, and A. Gonçalves. 2010. Castelo da Lousa Intervenções Arqueológicas de 1997 a 2002. Merida: Studia Lusitana 5.

Gibson, C., V. H. Correia, and C Burgess. 1999. "Hillforts, Oppida and Vitrification in the Évora Area, Central Portugal," Northern Archaeology 17/18.

Gonçalves, A., E. Moran, M. Posselt, and F. Teichner. 1999. "New aspects of the romanization of the Alto Alentejo (Portugal): evidence from a geophysical and archeological survey at the Monte da Nora (Terrugem)." Arqueologia 22: 101-110.

Mataloto, R. 2002. "Fortins e recintos-torre do Alto Alentejo: antecâmara da “romanização” dos campos". Revista Portuguesa de Arqueologia 5.1: 161-220. 

Ortiz Romero, P. 1995. "De recintos, Torres y Fortines: usos ( y abusos)."Extremadura Arqueológica 5: 177-193.

Williams, J. and R. Mataloto. 2010.  "Caladinho 2010: A Preliminary Report on the Excavation of a First-Century B.C.E. Tower in Alto Alentejo, Portugal." Chronika 1: 22-26.