null Yacimiento - Mercado dos Mouros
A unique archaeological site
This was a small, open settlement with no defences, although it was likely that a wall discovered during excavation work existed to demarcate the site and protect it from flooding.
Its proximity to the River Ulla and location on an islet in the river are proof of how important control of the water was: as a means of communication, exchanges and the arrival of people and goods. The river provides us with knowledge of its uses and customs throughout the ages.
The earliest huts were made of perishable materials, pointing to the seasonality of the settlers, who would have made a living from fishing activities.
The appearance of stone structures, though existing alongside those made from perishable ones, is associated with greater occupational stability derived from commercial activities.
The settlement was abandoned in the 1st century, when Iria Flavia and its main port situated in Pontecesures, at the highest point of the river, were at their peak.
The importance of the river
Its proximity to the River Ulla, one of the most important navigable rivers in Ancient times, made it a strategic point of passage between the south and the north. It was a key spot for commercial development towards territories further inland, as at that time many important routes passed through here, such as the Via, or Roman road, XIX—which linked Bracara Augusta (Braga, today) and Asturica Augusta (Astorga, today)— or the per loca maritima, which formed a part of the Itinerary of the Emperor Antoninus.
Its location on the lower stretch of the river also contributed not only to its importance as a means of communication and exchange of goods, but as a space with a huge symbolic significance, bearing in mind the ritual deposits found in the river (swords and daggers) and in its immediate surroundings (deposits of axes).
Numerous archaeological findings are scattered along the entire course of the river, associated with the transportation and trading of products, such as the remains of amphorae or wreckage, or sunken ships from the Roman era documented at the mouth of the River Ulla.