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Cardigos 1







San Miguel celtic fort

This type of construction is called 'Castro' in Portugal and Spain. It was a common type of settlement in the mountain terrains of central and southern europe during the Iron Age, and pré-roman dominance.
 
The Castro of San Miguel stands on a hill top 1 km north of the village of Amêndoa, rising up to 497 meters. It was ranked as a National Monument in 1950 by Decree 37,801 of the Official Gazette of 2 May .
 
It had a central strategic position on the rivers Tagus, Zêzere and Ocreza, and was defended by the mountains which surround the ridges.
The eastern slope drops abruptly in steep but access is relatively easy on the north side. What makes it difficult to access on this side is the succession of hills. The slopes of the northern side end in an unexplored plateau .

The Castro comprises a village  with about 50 homes, supported by walls on the sides of easier access,  all houses having a rectangular or square form and walls of dry stone or very primitive mortar. The Acropolis, the primitive core of Castro, has a more or less square plan, with about 25m from the side covering an area of 625m2. There is a door in the middle of the southern wall and a hallway passed to the other door at the top northeast. Inside, it was supplemented by a transverse wall parallel to the southern wall. The citadel is a fortress with walls substantially square of about 2 m thick, that would have had more than 5 m high, rising on a strategic position along the lines of communication between important points of the pre-Roman Lusitania.

It must have ben settled since 2000 years BC, and should have known its peak during the Lusitanian-Roman wars. It  probably entered into decline and was abandoned after the Roman peace, possibly having been reused by the time of the barbarian invasions and even the Visigothic. These ideas are based on the fact that a rich rustic village of Rome called 'Coutada' has later been settled in his vicinity. 

In the early period the Acropolis could have supported a village of wooden houses. When they outgrowed the walls, these inside houses probably have have gained a different purpose. These populations were warlike, barricading themselfs on the hills and using spears and daggers. The peace and order established by the Romans drove this lifestyle to extinction and its inhabitants moved to more prosperous settlements on the valleys.

In conclusion, the architecture and urban development shows a typical La Tene village, with its peak between 500 and 300 BC, which may have been abandoned later than usual, perhaps forming the spur of the Visigothic region and enduring as such until the reconquering campaigns by D. Sancho I, in whose reign it could have been besieged, dominated, destroyed and abandoned.

The ruins are in poor condition, overrun by weeds and the trees.





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