SAND – Sarilhos Grandes Between Two Worlds

The project “Sarilhos Grandes” began in 2008, as a rescue archaeology intervention to support the work of SIMARSUL, a developing company part of the Águas de Portugal Group. The excavation led to the discovery of 21 burials dated to the 15th-17th centuries. Since then, a multidisciplinary team of experts has conducted a variety of studies with the aim of obtaining information about the diet and diseases of the population of Sarilhos Grandes. The data obtained until 2018 explored the life of a small part of this riverside population, leading to the identification of specific parasites linked to meat and contaminated water ingestion. In addition consumption of potatoes, rye/wheat, beans or chickpeas among others vegetables, as well as crustaceans has also been found. This is the first time that some of these elements, as well as the fungus Candida albicans, were identified in Portugal for the period under study. The excavated area included a Christian necropolis, characterized by simple burial pits (“covachos”), where bodies were generally shrouded and with no associated grave-goods, with the exception of one juvenile burial that included a copper coin (cetil) in the hand. SAND will be a multi-year project (2019-2021) that contemplates the bio-archaeological excavation inside the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Piedade (pantheon of the Cotrim family) and the space outside of the chapel including the church of St. George, collecting new data to characterize the diet, pathologies and funerary rituals of the population of Sarilhos Grandes , as well as to potentially recover elements of contact with both the Eastern and Western side of the world. The new archaeological intervention will also aim to identify contexts associated with the construction of the church of St. George and the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Piedade.

Duration: 2019-2021

Coordinator (PI): Paula Pereira (University of Lisbon)

Participants: Ana Luísa Santos (CIAS), Ricardo Miguel Godinho (ICArEHB), David Gonçalves (CIAS), Luciana Sianto (CIAS), Álvaro Monge Calleja (CIAS), João Costa (NOVA), António P. Coutinho (University of Coimbra), Alice Toso (University of York, UK)

Financial support: Câmara Municipal do Montijo (Montijo City Hall, Portugal)