Castro de Ovil

Historic Site in Espinho

Castro De Ovil
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Lsilva1969

Centuries before the birth of Christ, inhabitants of the northwestern region of the Iberian Peninsula developed a unique way of life characterized by the creation of fortified settlements called “castros.”

These settlements were located on elevated hills with expansive views, and their defensive features included the construction of stone walls and deep moats to restrict access to the village.

In February of 1981, the Castro de Ovil was discovered in a location known as Castelo, in Monte, Paramos county, in the municipality of Espinho.

The village sits atop a small hill that has ideal defensive conditions, with the Paramos riverbank to the south and southwest and a deep moat to the north and northeast.

Archaeological excavations began in the early 1980s, and continued in 1994 under the auspices of the Archaeological Office of the municipality of Espinho.

The excavations revealed the ruins of a town that dates back to the III and II centuries BC, with notable housing centers in sectors B and E. Thirteen circular flat schist structures were identified, some with atriums, which converged in common patios with flags and appear to have been inhabited by the same family.

The collection of artifacts recovered from the site consists mainly of indigenous pottery, with simple or typical decoration, that allowed for the reconstruction of pots, pans, carvings, and hanging vessels. Other finds include evidence of domestic and artisanal activities such as milling (swinging and rotating millstones), yarn and loom weights, fishing (net weights), ceramics (clay pieces), and metallurgy (foundry slag).

Personal ornaments such as necklaces made of glass paste or bronze were also discovered, along with an iron alloy spearhead.

Interestingly, there is little evidence of Roman influence at the site, with only a few fragments of amphora suggesting that the village was abandoned during the first century.

The Castro de Ovil appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Espinho!

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Visiting Castro de Ovil

Address: Castro De Ovil, Estrada de São Tiago, Espinho, Portugal
Duration: 20 minutes

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