SESSION 7 | MARCH 3 | 14:00-15:45

Chair Manuel Fialho (GEO-CML | CH-ULisboa)

The Alto da Vigia (Sintra) and the dynamics of use of a ribat

14:00-14:30 |  Alexandre Gonçalves (UNIARQ) and Helena Catarino (CEAACP)  

The archaeological site of Alto da Vigia, strategically located on a small hill overlooking the sea and near the mouth of the Ribeira de Colares, has been known since the 16th century due to the appearance of inscriptions of a Roman sanctuary dedicated to the Sun, the Ocean and the Moon. Recent work has revealed an occupation from the Islamic period compatible with a ribat, from which three buildings have already been identified, two of them with their mihrab/oratorium, an Islamic rite necropolis, and several silos excavated in the rock. The only mosque completely excavated so far has undergone several reformulations, highlighting its internal compartmentalization, in addition to the record of several phases of use of the space, some apparently incompatible with its religious use. The latter are materialized in the accumulation of domestic debris, associated with poorly structured bonfires scattered in a rather unorganized way inside the compartment. The scarce materials collected allow us to situate the first of these situations only after the XI/XII centuries, therefore, coeval of the dynamics of conquest that the Christian forces developed from the North. At this point, the events involving the Norwegian co-monarch and crusader Sigurðr jórsalafari Magnússon and Count Henry the Navigator, which led to the fall of Sintra Castle in 1109, stand out, followed by other episodes that also culminated in the temporary capture of the fortress at the end of the 11th century. The Alto da Vigia may have played some part in those events, since it is an important place in the organization of the defense of the territory, especially if we bear in mind that, at the time, the Ribeira de Colares was navigable in the final part of its section, and its valley is a natural access corridor to Sintra. The construction of a lookout on the site in 1505 bears witness to this need to control the area, which would continue until the 19th century.

From mosque to church: the cases of Silves and Loulé

14:30-15:00 | Luís Filipe Oliveira (U. Algarve)

There is not much-known data that attests, for the Algarve, to the generalised conversion of ancient mosques into Christian churches during the 13th century. If the phenomenon has been admitted by most researchers, even as a victory sign of the new faith, there is little news regarding these transformations and, above all, of the rituals and operations necessary to carry them out. Even so, the available information suggests the frequency of these reconversions. Perhaps in Silves and Tavira, but above all in Loulé, where the architectural remains seem most enlightening.


Alexandre Gonçalves. BA degree in History, a variant of archaeology, and a MA degree in archaeology from the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon. He began by working in commercial archaeology and later became a technician at the Sintra City Hall, in the Archaeological Museum of São Miguel de Odrinhas. He has directed several archaeological works resulting from safeguard interventions, as well as from the valorization of archaeological sites. He has directed excavations at Alto da Vigia, including the development of a multi-year research project. He is a researcher at the Archaeology Center of the University of Lisbon, UNIARQ.

Helena Catarino. Retired Professor at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Coimbra (DHEEAA-FLUC) and integrated researcher at the Centre for Archaeological Studies, Arts and Heritage Sciences (CEAACP-FCT). She has a PhD in Archaeology, in 1997, from the same university, with a thesis entitled: "O Algarve Oriental durante a Ocupação Islâmica: Povoamento Rural e Recintos Fortificados", published in three volumes in the journal Al'Ulyã, n.º 6, published by the Arquivo Histórico Municipal de Loulé. In more than 40 years of research and teaching, she has developed several medieval and Islamic archaeology projects, of which the studies in Alcoutim and in the Serra do Algarve stand out, as well as the Salir Castle (Loulé) and the Paderne Castle (Albufeira). She has directed other excavations, namely at Campo Militar de S. Jorge de Aljubarrota and at the Patio of the University of Coimbra. She has published more than a hundred titles, individually and in collaboration, and, in recent years, on Islamic ceramics, as part of the CIGA Group, of which she has been a member since its foundation. The group is integrated in a line of research at the Centre for Studies in Archaeology, Arts and Heritage Sciences (CEAACP), functioning as a Section of the Campo Arqueológico de Mértola (CAM).

Luís Filipe OliveiraLuís Filipe Oliveira is an assistant professor at the University of the Algarve and a researcher at the Institute of Medieval Studies at the FCSH of Universidade Nova de Lisboa. He is currently the director of Medievalista, IEM's online journal, of which he has been a member of the Editorial Board since 2007. He is also a member of the Scientific Council of the journals E-Strategica, of the Iberian Association of Military History, Estudios Medievales Hispánicos, of the Autonomous University of Madrid, and Alcanate: Revista de Estudios Alfonsíes, of the University of Seville. He has published several works on Military Orders, the Reconquista, and the Crusade. He is the author of A Coroa, os Mestres e os Comendadores: As Ordens Militares de Avis e de Santiago (1330-1449), Faro, Universidade do Algarve, 2009. Editor, with Philippe Josserand and Damien Carraz, of Élites et Ordres Militaires au Moyen Âge. Rencontre autor D'Alain Demurger, Madrid, Casa de Velázquez, 2015, co-author other monographs on the history of Lisbon (Lisboa Medieval. Os Rostos da Cidade, Lisboa, Livros Horizonte, 2007; Lisboa Medieval: Gentes, Espaços e Poderes, Lisboa, IEM, 2016), and editor of As Comendas Urbanas das Ordens Militares, Lisbon, Colibri, 2016, and curator the medieval section of the exhibition and catalogue Loulé. Territórios, Memórias, Identidades, Lisboa, Museu Nacional de Arqueologia-Imprensa Nacional, 2017, pp. 572-627. He has scattered collaboration in collective works: Bernardo Vasconcelos e Sousa (dir.), Ordens Religiosas em Portugal. Das Origens a Trento. Guia Histórico, Lisboa, Livros Horizonte, 2005 (3rd ed. revised and expanded, 2016); Alan Murray (dir.), The Crusades. An Encyclopedia, 4 vols. Santa Barbara, 2006; Nicole Bériou and Philippe Josserand (dirs.), Dictionaire des Ordres Militaires au Moyen Age, Paris, 2009; João Luís Fontes (dir.), Bispos e Arcebispos de Lisboa, Lisboa, Horizonte, 2018; or in História Global de Portugal, Lisboa, Círculo de Leitores, 2020.