Circling the Square

Last Spring, Cornelius Holtorf has been (once again), with his team, excavating at Monte da Igreja, near Évora (Central Alentejo, Portugal.
His work has been concerned with the live story of a megalithic monument (a small dolmen), coming up until the present days.
Close to the megalithic grave there were surface evidences for a Roman settlement, and, in the excavation, a muslim coin has been found.

Cornelius has been teaching in Cambridge for some years and, for the moment, he is teacher in the Swedish University of Lund. Though he is doing a very serious work, Cornelius doesn’t lack sense of humour: in his last excavation at Monte da Igreja he left his visitors surprised with a provocative method of excavation: one of the trenches open to have a wider insight in the Roman structures, instead of quadrangular, was circular…

Of course, with a modern Barker-Harris methodology, and a Total Station on the site, there is no need at all to keep the “traditional” lay-out of the excavations; but someone had to show it.

and Cornelius is not at all a squared mind…

As an answer to that stimulus, we (me and Leonor Rocha) decided to replicate with a window in the trench, at our current excavation of a Neolithic site (Barroca 1), in Mora (Central Alentejo).


Cornelius said…
As Manuel knows very well, archaeology is as much an art as it is an academic subject...

Those interested in obtaining further information about the project are invited to access its webpages at Unfortunately this online presentation does not contain information about the most recent (and final) excavation season during the spring of 2006.

We are planning to write up the full results of the project in a monograph to be published (hopefully) in 2008. Until then you can read about the project in theses papers:

Holtorf, Cornelius (2004) “Incavation – Excavation – Exhibition.” In: Material engagements: studies in honour of Colin Renfrew. Edited by N. Brodie and C. Hills (eds), pp. 45-53. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

Holtorf, Cornelius (2002) Excavations at Monte da Igreja near Évora (Portugal). From the life-history of a monument to re-uses of ancient objects. Journal of Iberian Archaeology 4, 177-201.

Holtorf, Cornelius (2001) A história de vida de um monumento pré-historico. Trabalho de Pesquisa no Monte da Igreja, Freg. Torre de Coelheiros. A Cidade de Évora (2nd Series) 4, 57-82.

The project was also subject of an article by José Pinto de Sá in the Portuguese daily paper Publico, 28 April 2001

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