Between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic: an approach to the underwater cultural heritage of the Arade river estuary



The intervention area of this project is situated on the south coast of the Algarve, in the estuary and inlet of the river Arade. This was a privileged area of connection between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, with features well-suited for navigation: the mouth of the river Arade is a natural safe haven, serving various urban centres, namely Portimão, as well as an important route for navigation, communication and penetration inland to the Western Algarve. These characteristics are broadly documented in the written sources and archaeological findings identified in recent decades.



The project will focus on the archaeological sites of Ponta do Altar A and B, GEO 5 and Arade B / GEO 7, which correspond to shipwrecks and anchorage locations from the Roman period to the contemporary time. The works to be carried out encompass the geophysical and visual prospecting by diving, recording, excavation and survey.


Start: 2012

Duration: 24 months

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



Host Institution

- Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas / Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Main Research Unit

- Centro de História d'Aquém e d'Além-Mar / Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas/Universidade Nova de Lisboa | Universidade dos Açores


- Archeosfera, Lda
- Museu de Portimão / Câmara Municipal de Portimão
- PORTISUB - Clube Subaquático de Portimão
- SubNauta – Centro e Escola de Mergulho



Cristóvão Fonseca   .    Coordenator

José António Bettencourt   .   Coordenator

Andreia Machado (Museu de Portimão / CMP)
Gonçalo Correia Lopes (CHAM)
Inês Pinto Coelho (CHAM)
Nuno Silva (Museu de Portimão / CMP)
Patrícia Carvalho (CHAM)
Tiago Silva (CHAM)
Vera Freitas (Museu de Portimão / CMP)