Archaeologists in Portugal have uncovered a Roman villa dating back to the period when the Romans occupied the country from the second century BC until the fourth century.
SV PAN ZOOM IN Village and sign in Southern Portugal
GV PAN Horse and cart standing in front of diggings
SV People working on dig and sifting through earth (2 shots)
SV PULL OUT Skeleton ZOOM OUT TO People digging
SV People digging ZOOM OUT site
GV PAN Site
SV Archaeologist showing boy remains of pots
SV Skeleton ( 2 shots)
SV ZOOM IN Teeth
SV People digging
SV Broken pots
SV Roman bath
SCU Coins and broken pottery (2 shots)
GV PAN Site
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Background: Archaeologists in Portugal have uncovered a Roman villa dating back to the period when the Romans occupied the country from the second century BC until the fourth century. Scientists say the ruins are unique because they are so big and in such good condition.
SYNOPSIS: The town of Vidigueira, and important centre for Portugal's wine producers and home to an order of Saint Vincent friars for centuries.
It was near here that a rich Roman land-owner built the villa when the Roman Empire was at its height.
The remains of the villa were discovered more than ten years ago when art experts visiting the order recognised characteristically Roman architecture in the monastery. Part of the villa had been transformed into a religious house belonging to the friars.
Work on the site has been underway for ten years now and it's expected to be another five before the research is completed.
The archaeologists have uncovered baths, servants quarters, a bakery, grain stores and gardens. Most of it, they say, is in good condition and could prove to be one of the most important Roman finds in Europe.
Some of the former residents were also unearthed. This dig ha been organised by the Lisbon-based Gulbenkian Foundation, the Portuguese Department of Culture and the French Centre National de Recherche Scientifique which is paying half the cost. The Romans first dominated this part of Portugal in the second century before Christ. In Roman times the area was a wheat belt and there were important mines not far away. Julius Ceasar governed the region for a time. Later, the Romans pushed further into central Portugal.
Christianity reached Vidigueira in the third century and has stayed ever since-entwined with the remnants of the Romans.