Vilamoura: Cerro da Vila
Escavations of a Roman settlement near the lagoon of the Ribeira de Quarteira
The archaeological station of Cerro de Vila is situated at the northern corner of the marina of Vilamoura on site no more than 10 metres above sea level. Although the area excavated only covers 2-3 ha, objects from 8 centuries have already be discovered, belonging to various historic periods: Roman, late Roman, Visigoth an Moorish. Two km to the north of Cerro da Vila are still important remains of the Roman dam for the reservoir that supplied the place with drinking water.
Reasons why the Romans chose to settle here are most likely the fertile agricultural land that extends all round the former lagoon of the "Ribeira de Quarteira" and the use of the lagoon itself as a safe harbour, protecting their shallow-draught vessels.
It is however still unclear, why they erected such large bath installation as the "Balnéario Grande" who could serve a numerous population, since dwellings have not be found in sufficient number to justify the existence of such a complex and expensive building. In later times these buildings have been converted into a factory for fish conserve "garum" from salted mackerel and tuna, merged with molluscs and plants from the marsh zones.
The text on this page has been extracted from the Cerro da Vila prospectus, available in several languages in the museum