Fish Ahoy! by Gwen Mccauley

Seasonal Fishing Village - 12thC

When I first discovered this small archeological site, high on a cliff overlooking the pounding Atlantic I wondered why any fishing community would choose such an apparently inhospitable location. I mean the climb from the nearest beach would be very demanding and time consuming. You’d be exposed to the fierce winds blowing almost permanently off the ocean and water and firewood would be at a premium.

But then I started to think like a fisherman. High up on this cliff you can see for a long distance in all directions. You could easily see whales, dolphins or tuna passing by. You could probably also stand on the edge of the cliff and look down to see if schools of sardines and other fish had gathered close to shore. Any enemies passing by on foot or by boat would be easy to spot.
And the smelly business of cleaning fish, laying them out to dry in the wind and sun would probably be accomplished on nearby beaches where you could keep an eye on things yet not have to live with the stench.

The constant breeze would keep flies and other bugs away. All in all, probably a good trade for the price of lugging water and wood out to the cliff’s edge.

This Muslim era seasonal fishing village dates from the 12th-13th Century and has been beautifully excavated. It was quite thrilling to discover it nestled on the cliff top with little signage from the dirt road to mark its presence. You really want to have an off-the-beaten-track experience in order to find it. I encourage you to have a go. It is closer to the surfing beach of Amado, near Carrapeteira.
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