For my spring break, I explored cities throughout Portugal and explored a city in Spain. It was one of the best times of my life: I ate great food, went to great places, and enjoyed it with great people. I loved every aspect of the trip, from the frightening plane ride and odd hotel rooms to the beautiful cathedrals and landscapes. The Roman art history class and I explored a large, vast amount of Iberian peninsula in only ten days, including the Bone Chapel in Evera, Portugal and the Roman amphitheater and theater in Spain. My favorite place had to be Torre de Palma.
Torre de Palma – Mosaics
I loved the archeological dig site of Torre de Palma. It was the highlight of my trip. My group was able to see the site by ourselves, and to do so we had the worker come in on his day off just to open the site for us. The most intricate mosaics of the site, located in the Roman domus, weren’t there because they were taken to National Archeological Museum of Portugal. These were mosaics of horses, and probably represented the household’s prize horses. Even though the more ornate mosaics weren’t present, the mosaics left behind still held beauty. The mosaics had beautiful geometric patterns, and they must have been a sight to see in their original state.
I felt so accomplished when I was able to go to the ancient ruins and decipher what I was looking at. I was able to note what was added onto the house plan at later times and what was part of the original plan. The house would have been huge, with a peristyle garden and a tabilinum with three apses. It would have had a great amount of textiles and artworks in the main areas of the home to make it eloquently decorated.
The Bath House
Torre de Palma is the only ancient Roman site of its kind. It is the largest Roman archaeological site to date, has two bath houses, and is set up much differently then all other sites discovered. The Roman site has all of its structures placed far apart. The second bath house is placed in an area that makes it hard to maintain because it was built on the bottom of a slope. That made the bath complex a challenge to drain. There was a drainage system created around it, but there was still evidence of drainage problems.
Overall the entire sight of Torre de Palma was breathtaking and amazing. My professor, Dr. Brangers, worked on the site and is still working with the research of it today. Because of her knowledge of the site and everything she was able to teach us, she made the site truly my favorite part of the excursion to Portugal.
Please feel free to ask any questions about my trip or talk about a trip you had.