Cerro da Vila (Port)

Roman aqueducts: Cerro de Vila (Portugal) Cerro de Vila
For the photo's, see below
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Cerro da Vila

The aqueduct in the area of the roman villa Cerro da Vila had its beginning at the dam of Vale Tesnado that was situated close to the Vale Tesnado stream, which is a side branch of the Quarteira, in the municipality of Loulé (Algarve province, S. Portugal) with Gauss coordinates M-200,4 and P=14,3. The water basin of 37,5 km2 is the biggest of the ancient artificial lakes studied so far. The first reference to the dam was made by A. do Paço et al. in their publication of 1966, who were the first to consider the link to the roman villa of Cerro da Vila situated 1.700m SE of the dam. According to the authors it was a construction with opus signinum of which only big blocks remains. The dam was also cited by M.L. Santos (1972) but he did not gave details.

What is visible now is an overgrown construction 1,2m high and 0,70m thick made of opus caementicium (roman concrete) built of small pieces of stone and shingles without any visible protection layer (opus signinum). The dam followed the shape of the valley with a flat bottom 220m long of tufa stone as a foundation.
As Do Paço already wrote, the dam was destroyed by construction work for a road and other objects. Its purpose was quite clear and the existence of the channel was confirmed by local people who knew that the water had its destination in Cerro da Vila.

The aqueduct was intended for the water supply of two bath buildings in the area. In the course of the excavations a few parts of its channel heading to Cerro da Vila were observed. An excavated part of the aqueduct had a width of approximately 0,35m, built in opus incertum, internally coated with mortar (only visible at some places).

W.D. Schram

From Vale Tesnado to Cerro da Vila

Item Info
Length 1,7 km
Cross-section 0,35m x ?m
Volume ? m3/day
Fall ? %
Period unknown
  • dam

Recommended literature : Aproveitamentos hidráulicos romanos a sul do Tejo (1986) - A.C. Quintela, J.L. Cardoso and J.M. Mascarenhas
Recommended website : none
How to visit : The Cerro da Vila site and museum are adequately signposted in the area of Vilamoura (Algarve, Portugal) and are situated quite close to the main harbor.
Of the dam and aqueduct nearly noting is visible now; some remains still exists on the site of Cerro da Vila.
HOME More literature on more aqueducts Last modified: February 2006 - Wilke D. Schram (wilke@cs.uu.nl)

Global trace

Detailed map

Present situation

Model Vale Tesnado dam

Man on roman dam

Dam of Vale Tesnado

Buttress of the dam

Water intake at the dam

Channel with lining

Covert tranche

Present remains

Present remains

Present remains

Almost the last part

Bend in the aqueduct

To be continued

Aqueduct without stones

Detail of the aqueduct

Bend plus side branches


Double basin

Side branch nr 1

Side branch plus cistern

Basin with opus signinum

Branch to the bath house

Water channel


Bath house with hypocaust

Water works

Salting basins