Sites & cities that bear the name of Citânia de Briteiros

Citânia de Briteiros

Today in : Portugal
First trace of activity : ca. 8th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 3rd century C.E

Description : The Citânia de Briteiros is an archaeological site of the Castro culture located in the Portuguese civil parish of Briteiros São Salvador e Briteiros Santa Leocádia in the municipality of Guimarães; important for its size, "urban" form and developed architecture, it is one of the more excavated sites in northwestern Iberian Peninsula. Although primarily known as the remains of an Iron Age proto-urban hill fort (or oppidum), the excavations at the site have revealed evidence of sequential settlement, extending from the Bronze to Middle Ages. The site was probably constructed between the first and second century BCE. Notes by Martins Sarmento and from recent explorations show that the Monte de São Romão was a favoured location for rock art engravings of the Atlantic Bronze Age, in the beginning of the first millennium BCE; it is not known when or why this first group left. Numerous early engraved rock surfaces were destroyed when many boulders were cut to build the ramparts and family compounds as the Castro settlement grew. Little is known of the beginnings of the Castro occupation, as no structures from the late Bronze Age have been found. Pottery from the early Iron Age has been found, when the settlement would already have been fortified. The majority of the ruins visible today have been dated from the second Iron Age, especially the last two centuries BCE. The Castro inhabitants are believed to have been Celtic. Approximately half the pre-Latin toponyms of Gallaecia were Celtic, while the rest were either non Celtic western Indo-European, or mixed toponyms containing Celtic and non-Celtic elements. Sometime in the first century AD the settlement was occupied by Roman settlers. Expansion of the Roman Empire into the region has left evidence in the oppidum at Briteiros, in the form of coins (those of Augustus and Tiberius are the most numerous found, with smaller numbers of coins of the Republic, and the Flavians and the Antonines) ranging from the 1st century BCE to the 2nd century CE. A small number of amphorae and red pottery pieces have been found, and there is some evidence of Romanization in the architecture of the alleys and buildings of the eastern slope, but overall the visible impact of Roman occupiers is not strong. The reduced number of later coin and pottery finds suggests that occupation of the oppidum was declining from the 1st century CE, resulting in the 2nd century with very few people living within the ramparts. Evidence shows that there was a transitory reoccupation in the High Middle Ages, which included the building of a medieval chapel and graveyard on the acropolis.

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