An ancient port complex in the Western Algarve: the archaeology of the Arade River estuary




Start: 2018

Duration: 48 months

Principal Investigators: Cristóvão Fonseca (CHAM) / José António Bettencourt (CHAM)


Main Research Unit

CHAM — Centro de Humanidades


Administração do Porto de Sines e do Algarve
Capitania do Porto de Portimão
Centro Nacional de Arqueologia Náutica e Subaquática / Direcção Geral do Património Cultural
Clube Subaquático de Mergulho Portisub
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

GAMP — Grupo de Amigos do Museu de Portimão
Junta de Freguesia de Portimão


 Museu de Portimão / Câmara Municipal de Portimão




This project is primarily focused on the archaeology of the Arade River estuary and its maritime dimension, targeting shipwreck and anchorage contexts in a diachronic approach. The Arade River is one of the most important areas in Portugal in terms of nautical and underwater archaeology research. This wealth of information is particularly relevant for studying the evolution of one of the main ports of the present-day Portuguese territory over the centuries, from Iron Age to the present, and its essential role as a navigation hub between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.



Contributing to the study of ships, navigation and port dynamics through the systematic analysis of several shipwreck and anchorage sites discovered in recent decades. Providing continuity to the previous project ‘Between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic: an approach to the underwater cultural heritage of the River Arade estuary’ the project aims at boosting an approach to archaeological sites and finds in greater depth and from a comprehensive and chronologically extended perspective. This will include the study the most expressive archaeological sites, but also the analysis of the materials originating from random finds, thus providing new insights into the history of this port and its maritime activity.






Cristovão Fonseca    .    Coordenador
José António Bettencourt    .    Coordenador
Gonçalo Correia Lopes (CHAM)
Patrícia Carvalho (CHAM)

Tiago Silva (CHAM)

Inês Pinto Coelho (CHAM)

Andreia Machado (Museu de Portimão / CMP)

Nuno Silva (Museu de Portimão / CMP)

Vera Freitas (Museu de Portimão / CMP)