Boca do Rio - Sitio Pesqueiro entre dois mares

Excavation of a fishing site of the times of the Roman Empire (Century I - V) near Budens, municipality Vila do Bispo, western Algarve

Boca do Rio is a little bay situated on the coast of the western Algarve between the beaches of Burgau and Salema in the municipality of Vila do Bispo. Two thousand years ago, during the Roman period, the stream of Budens formed an estuary and an extensive lagoon, where the Romans built a large villa during the middle of the 1st Century AD. The construction had a large house at the front and the thermae were directed towards the sea. Until today many archaeological traces can be found on the beach, remaining from the destruction by the waves of the Atlantic. Behind this rich residential area an industrial complex with large tanks was built to produce the famous garum, a sauce made of salted fish and molluscs. In 2017/18 the adjacent harbour was excavated by a Portuguese-German archaeological team from the Universities of the Algarve and Marburg. They found the impressive ruins well protected in the dunes since the place had been abandoned in the beginning of the 5th. Century.

In the 16th. Century the beach of Boca do Rio was settled by a community of fishermen. To protect it against attacks by pirates the fortress of Almadena was erected on hilltop east of the beach. The Tsunami following the earthquake of 1755, that destroyed Lisbon and the Algarvian coast, revealed the roman ruins that were hidden under the sand on the dunes. In 1774 some of their foundations were used to build a new fishing site, of which two ruins still exist on the beach.

The total area of Boca do Rio is one of the best places in south-west Europe to study the impact and energy of a huge Tsunami like that of 1755, because the dunes and the plain behind the beach conserved the remains of great evidence of this maritime event. The historical-archaeological and geological interest of this place attracts teams of investigators year by year, and the natural beauty and wildness of the beach is immediately enchanting every visitor.


By João Pedro Bernardes, Universidade do Algarve (UALG)  Faro, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais in September 2018

Boca do Rio
8650 Budens

Accommodation Nearby
Hotel Residencial Salema Hotel Residencial Salema
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