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Excavating Incineration Urns from the Iron Age Site of Tera, Portugal

Location: Redondo, Portugal

July 8, 2013 to July 26, 2013

Session dates: 
July 8th - 26th

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



PortAnta, Association for Iberian Archaeology

Project Director:

Rui Mataloto, Municipality of Redondo, and David Gonçalves, University of Coimbra

Project Description

The incineration necropolis of Tera is located outside the town of Pavia (near Évora) and dates do the fifth century B.C.E. This site has been excavated during various campaigns over the last five years and has yielded an amazing amount of burial urns with incinerated remains. This program will focus on the excavation of those urns, already taken from the site, and proper recording, excavation methodologies and identification of individuals and remains which have been stored within these containers for some 2,500 years.

The work already conducted here allows for some clarity regarding the complex rituals associated with the burial customs at the site. The other incinerations, were, mainly, deposited in urns that were then placed in a small pit and were associated with various personal items of the deceased. After deposition, the pits were then covered with rocks.

The spolia here are diverse and consist of perfume and imported unguentarian vessels, necklace beads, glass and fibulas. The burial goods may allow for a better understanding of the social stratification from this period. On the other hand, the anthropological data may supply relevant information regarding the life and death of Iron Age people in the Alentejo. When possible, the work here will focus on the pathology, dietary habits and ages of the individuals interred here.

Period(s) of Occupation: Iron Age

Cremations, Osteology

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 3 weeks

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Transportation to and from Portugal is at the participant's expense although transportation to and from the Lisbon airport is covered by the program. Accommodations and transportation to and from Lisbon airport are covered in the tuition. The program will also provide three daily meals, except on weekends. Others personals expenses are not covered. The house where participants will reside is fully furnished and will accommodate all of the needs of the group during the course of the program.


Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none


Contact Information
Rui Mataloto
Praça Augusto Cabrita, 1, 4ºD