Funerary practices Project

    Práticas funerárias da Pré-História Recente no Baixo Alentejo e retorno sócio-económico de programas de salvamento patrimonial
    Funerary practices in Alentejo´s Recent Prehistory and socio-economic proceeds of heritage rescue projects

    Team: António Carlos Neves de Valera (Main Researcher), Ana Célia Calapez Gomes,
    Ana Maria Gama da Silva, Gonçalo Cardoso Leite Velho, Idalina Maria Dias Sardinha, Lucy Elizabeth Shaw Evangelista, Manuel Francisco Pacheco Coelho, Maria Isabel de Deus Mendes, Nelson Daniel Broa Cabaço, Ricardo Miguel Alves Correia Godinho, Sandra Maria Correia Loureiro, Victor Manuel Simões Filipe (Researchers) and 6 Research Studentships
    Funding: FCT
    Proponent institution: IPT
    Participating institutions: ERA, CG/FCT-UC, DA/FCT-UC e SOCIUS/ISEG-UL
    Reference: PTDC/HIS-ARQ/114077/2009
    Schedule: March 1, 2011 - February 28, 2014
    Keywords: Funerary practices, Recent prehistory, Heritage enhancement model, Socio-economic impact


    The project aims to study the Recent Prehistory funerary practices in the low Alentejo region (Beja district) and build models to the diffusion of knowledge produced over non accessible (or totally dismantled) archaeological heritage, that recently has been establishing and empirical revolution in the Beja district, in the context of impact assessment projects developed by Redes Electricas Nacionais (REN) and Empresa de Desenvolvimento de Infraestruturas de Alqueva (EDIA). This to companies, as part of local and regional stakeholders, are approving of this project and willing to supporting it in terms to be defined if it is approved.
    We will attempt to join up in the same research process the archaeological problem and the heritage enhancement in terms of public accessibility (understood as social and economic proceeds of scientific activity in rescue Archaeology).
    Hardly known for the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods, or recognized only in one of its expressions during the Bronze Age, the evidences of funerary practices in the low Alentejo Recent Prehistory are increasing due to infrastructure projects connected to the exploitation of Alqueva dam. The situation can be characterized as a huge empirical revolution.
    New sites present solutions totally knew to the region and its study will promote a profound renovation of our knowledge on the social strategies of death management, in terms of architecture, ritual, social organization, cosmological constructions or paleodemographic structure. So, using a set of eight archaeological sites of particular scientific relevance, excavated in the context of impact assessment, we intent to address and understand death management practices in their diverse dimensions in the Guadiana basin in low Alentejo, from Late Neolithic to the Bronze Age and the contrasts and articulations established with the funerary solutions known in peripheral areas of Southwest Iberia.
    Resulting from discoveries and interventions occurred in the context of rescue Archaeology, the majority of the sites was partially or totally destroyed or became inaccessible after the mitigation processes. So, the research and development of strategies to enhance and disclose the knowledge acquired over this inaccessible heritage constitutes itself as central to the purpose and justification of rescue Archaeology and to the commitment to social knowledge dissemination.
    Traditionally, enhancement of archaeological heritage and its public availability has been focused in fixed elements in space, such as archaeological ruins or museums. We aim to think, developed and evaluate new solutions to public presentation of archaeological knowledge not attached to concrete physical sites or long term facilities. This dimension of the project also represents innovation, based on a reflexive approach, where the dynamics of scientific research is concerned with its own social conditions of practice, taking into account the different dimensions of social and economic income to local stakeholders.