Nautical and underwater archeological pieces classified as of national interest

    The Government classified three astrolabes, six monoxillary pirogues and the 10 cannons as a National Interest Group (CIN), being given the designation of “national treasure”, according to a decree published this Monday in the Diário da República (DR).

    In the decree published in DR, the presidency of the Council of Ministers states that the three astrolabes come from an underwater archaeological collection carried out in São Julião da Barra, in Oeiras (Lisbon), the six monoxyl pirogues were collected in an underwater archaeological intervention carried out on the river Lima, in Viana do Castelo, and the 10 cannons at Ponta do Altar, at the mouth of the Arade river, in Portimão (Faro).

    “According to the criteria and assumptions for classification provided for in Law No. 107/2001, of September 8, which establishes the bases of the policy and regime for cultural protection and enhancement, the assets that the Government classifies as of interest national interests are of exceptional national interest, which is why it is imperative that they be given special protection and enhancement”, says the publication.

    The “three astrolabes, from underwater archaeological collections, incorporated into the archaeological remains of the National Center for Nautical and Underwater Archeology (CNANS), were associated with the wreckage of a shipwreck supposedly belonging to the Nossa Senhora dos Mártires Nau, which occurred in São Paulo Julião da Barra on September 14 or 15, 1606”.

    The six monoxillary canoes, “small boats built from a single tree trunk, in this case the Oak (Quercus robur L.), were identified in the Lima River from 1985 onwards”.

    The set now classified was collected from the Lima River between 1985 and 2008.

    “This is a set that, in the context of the Iberian Peninsula, has no parallel, considering the number of vessels involved, constituting a remarkable testimony of the navigation practiced on the Lima River from the Iron Age to the Low Middle Ages , dating these obtained by radiocarbon”, the document refers.

    “Most of the pirogues were found near a place where, curiously, the place name Lugar da Passagem persists to this day.”

    “This tradition, historically proven by an inscription engraved on a granite block dated 1742, which is still preserved today, refers to the place where people and goods were transported and where, later, a bridge connecting the two banks of the Lima”.

    The classification now attributed was proposed to the Government, in 2020, by the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC).

    Contacted this Monday by the Lusa agency, the mayor of Viana do Castelo, José Maria Costa, said that the municipality “has already made a request to the Ministry of Culture for the pirogues to come to the city.”

    The 10 cannons that appeared at Ponta do Altar, mouth of the Arade River, in Portimão, were recovered between 1992 and 2006.

    According to studies carried out, “it is considered that these cannons should be associated with the wreck of a Spanish or Portuguese ship, not yet detected, which will have occurred after 1605, date inscribed in one of the pieces”.

    In terms of “dimension and caliber, most of the pieces are affiliated with a so-called Habsburg colubrina model, presenting an interesting variety of elements, namely decorative such as insignia, cards, inscriptions”, among others.

    Five of the 10 cannons currently classified “were cast in Lisbon by Fernando de Vallestros, a character from a Spanish family, but active in the city between the end of the 16th century and the first half of the 17th century.

    These archaeological assets are in the custody of the DGPC in CNANS reserves.

    @ DN

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