The 2021 campaign in the village, near the city of Beja and “one of the largest in the Late Bronze Age of the Iberian Peninsula”, aims to complete the work carried out since 2019, Miguel Serra, the scientific director of the excavations, explained.
Those works allowed discovering the second section of the wall and new data related to the occupation during the Iron Age.
According to Miguel Serra, the excavations, which began on 2 August and ended on 27 August, revealed that the second section of the wall is in “excellent state of conservation”, which “impressed” the archaeologists.
The state of conservation of the section is due to the fact that it is in an area of the site "in better conditions of preservation and that was not affected by agricultural work", unlike what happened with the first section, about 20 meters and excavated between 2008 and 2013.
The second section, about eight meters long and three meters wide, “presents a 3,000-year-old structure and ingenious construction solutions”, such as clay platforms, baked clay ramps and stone walls, he explained.
The structure and some constructive solutions of this section are different from the first one, which shows that the wall, which is almost two kilometres long and surrounds the site almost entirely, “was not a static project”, but rather a “dynamic one”.
Outeiro do Circo dig site
According to the archaeologist, it underwent “several renovations throughout its life” and “had different phases associated with Bronze Age communities”.
“It also shows the great construction capacity of the Bronze Age communities and the capacity they had to find pragmatic solutions to overcome the difficulties”, he added.
As in 2020, this year's campaign also includes excavations in an area inside the site, which are allowing “to see other dynamics from a later period”, namely from the Iron Age.
In other words, “a greater presence of material remains, especially ceramics” – others had already been found in 2020 – and a structure that archaeologists have not yet managed to “understand very well”, he said.
The structure, “an alignment of stones parallel to the wall and filled with baked clay”, is still being excavated, but “it seems to be increasingly clear” that it is from the Iron Age.
Until now, this time “was very poorly documented in the Outeiro do Circo”, where “only” had been discovered “some residual materials”, but the discoveries allow “to see that the site, after all, after its abandonment in the Late Bronze Age, it will have been reoccupied, even if punctually”.
The collected assets will have to be studied to “better understand” the “way of life of the Bronze Age communities” and “the various dynamics” on the site, he said.
The Outeiro do Circo, with about 17 hectares, would have been the great centre of regional power before the city of Beja, which developed from the Iron Age, in the 7th century BC (before Christ).
The site has been known since the 18th century, was the subject of a first scientific study in 1977 and has been the subject of archaeological work since 2008 and until this year, as part of various research projects.