Castelo Velho de Safara
Castelo Velho de Safara is an Iron Age site located in the south of Portugal, at the confluence of the rivers Ardila and Safareja. Positioned on a hilltop in a commanding position, it presents defensive walls and three ditches.

Based on surface pottery collection, the site is dated between the 4th and the 1st centuries b.C.

The residential area seems to be divided according to status, and evidence of metal work on site is confirmed. The site might have served as a trading post with important connections to the nearby mines of copper and silver, and with manufactured products from the Eastern Mediterranean arriving by boat. Castelo Velho de Safara has been known about since the 1970s, but no archaeological excavation has been conducted until 2018.

Last year’s fieldwork season was the beginning of a systematic excavation project that unveiled the Roman Republican levels at the top of the stratigraphic sequence, exposing a few orthogonal compartmental structures perpendicular to the main defensive wall. This year’s excavation we are aiming to dig those structures and hit the Iron Age levels.


Location Safara, Moura, Portugal
Period Roman Republic (1st century b.C)
Iron Age (4th century b.C)
Dates 2nd - 16th June 2019
16th - 30th June 2019
30th June - 14th July 2019
14th - 28th July 2019
Accommodation Shared house
Working Hours 6am - 12pm (excavation Mon - Fri)
4.30pm - 7pm (lab and workshops Mon - Fri)
Saturdays: Free day
Sunday: Field trip / Beach
Programme - Excavation and recording of archaeological and geological contexts;
- Laboratory work;
- Archaeological survey;
- Workshops on archaeological methods, classification of Iron Age pottery and environmental archaeology;
- Field trips to national heritage sites.
Fee 60£/day*, including:
- Shuttle from/to Lisbon Airport
- Full room and board
- Excavation and lab materials
- Workshops
- Fied trips
- Application fee
- Administrative costs
- Fees DO NOT INCLUDE airfare
* discounted tuition for UCL and UCD students