Renowned archaeology investigators to set up permanent base in the Algarve
ERA Archaeology is a renowned archaeology firm that already has 23 years of work throughout the country. It has been investigating, for example, the Perdigões Archaeological Complex, a sacred site over 5000 years old, which was classified as a National Monument in November. In the Algarve, the firm is currently carrying out important work at Meia Praia in Lagos.
Responding to complex projects that require highly specialized human resources on the spot is the asset that ERA Arqueologia, a company whose headquarters are based in Cruz Quebrada, Greater Lisbon, wants to bring to the region, as it employs a multidisciplinary team of 53 people.
Three of them, archaeologists Eliana Correia, Patrícia Monteiro and Rita Dias, are behind the new Algarve branch, which, for now, is housed in the Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer Division (CRIA) of the University of Algarve.
“ERA is a company that has been working for 23 years in the areas of heritage, archaeology, conservation, restoration, biological anthropology, and increasingly in the areas of education and heritage communication,” explains Miguel Lago, managing director of firm.
Despite having carried out projects throughout the country, and having a long history of work in the Algarve, opening a permanent delegation in the Algarve has always been “an old wish”. “There is a lack of very professional structures in the region that can respond to projects with proper breadth.”
“We think we can do more work and make an even better contribution to dealing with the heritage of the Algarve, with a close-knit team, with a better capacity, and above all, with a clear cost reduction and higher levels of effectiveness in our interventions,” claims Mr. Lago.
Among their most recent work is the archaeological surveying of the historic centre of Alcoutim, and various projects throughout the area of ??Portimão.
According to Rita Dias, an archaeologist leading the charge of the new Algarve branch, “important artifacts from the late nineteenth century have been found, such as gunpowder weapons, and others, such as Roman tools, whose functionality is not clear.”
“The great advantage of ERA is that in these cases we can mobilize our human resources quickly,” she says.
“In the Algarve it is not well known how long projects last, the customer pays, but there are never big commitments and I think that doesn’t create a good image for archaeology,” adds Miguel Lago.
Another major project that ERA has in hand is in the Meia Praia area of ??Lagos: “It is related to a real estate project of a British company. It is on a hillside, relatively close to Monte Molião, and, therefore, what we have there are artefacts ranging from the chalcolithic (Bronze Age), to Roman and Islamic remains. It is a work that is being done in batches”, says Mr. Lago.
The archaeologists consider the Algarve “to be an interesting place to work. Unfortunately, not all councils have archaeological or heritage constraints on their land, which causes a lot of important artefacts to be lost,” says Rita Dias. A somewhat worrying gap in the administration of some municipalities at a time when urban construction pressure is increasing.