Urban spaces and experiences from the Portuguese period in Northern Africa: Archaeology around the Strait of Gibraltar (15th-17th centuries)


This project focuses its research on the “Algarve of overseas", the territory the Portuguese conquered on the south bank of the Strait of Gibraltar, a strategic region throughout history, a connection between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, between Europe and Africa. The Portuguese presence began with the conquest of Ceuta in 1415, expanding in the 15th century to the KsarSeghir, Asilah and Tangier. 


Through a interdisciplinary methodology, combining knowledge from the fields of archaeology, history of art, history, architecture and geosciences, in addition to the technological areas. The project also adopts a philosophy that will privilege the exchange of information and data interpretation of between Portuguese, Moroccan, Spanish and French researchers working on this subject. Thus, this project is part of a wider cooperation programme between the participant Portuguese institutions and foreign entities of research and cultural management related to those four cities. Moreover, it counts on the expertise acquired from recent decades by members of this team on the Portuguese presence in North Africa and its heritage.



Despite the pioneering work in the field of history, it seems necessary to develop a new approach to the Portuguese presence in this region: read the territory and the material evidence as source and document to better understand the spaces and experiences. This project therefore aims to investigate and reflect on the urban landscape and its fabrics, as well as the architectural and archaeological remains from the Portuguese presence in those contexts.


Following this path of research, the project will address various aspects, in light of the two key topics proposed: the occupation of Muslim cities by Christians and the characterisation of the Portuguese conurbations in the late Middle Ages and the first centuries of the Early Modern Age. Thus, in regard to the built spaces, the research will take into account the size and shape of the cities, their urban layout, the evolution of the military architecture, the public facilities and the forms of housing, as well as the constructive techniques and systems involved. With regard to experiences, they require an deep reflection on the relation field/city, the social transformation and the logistics and supply of the urban ensembles, in its relation with the Atlantic and Mediterranean trade networks, in addition to the religious and cultural aspects.


Start: 2014

Duration: 24 months

Principal Investigator: André Teixeira (CHAM)




- Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

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



André Teixeira    .    Coordenador

Abdelatif El Boudjay (DRCTT)
Alberto Darias Príncipe (ULL)
Ana Lopes (Universidade do Minho)
André Bargão (CHAM)
Antonio Bravo Nieto  (IECeutíes)
António Lázaro (Universidade do Minho)
Fernando Villada Paredes (IECeutíes)
Gonçalo Correia Lopes (CHAM)
Javier Garcia Iñañez (GPAC / UPV)
Joana Bento Torres (CHAM)
Luis Salas Almela (Universidad de Córdoba)
Luís Serrão Gil (CHAM)
Maria Augusta Lima Cruz (CHAM)
Patrice Cressier (CNRS)
Patrícia Carvalho (CHAM)
Rafael Moreira (CHAM)