Cidade Velha excavations

Hello and welcome to the Cidade Velha excavation site

A home page for the archaeological excavations in Cape Verde, the present web site is only a test bed and may contain errors and non functioning pages

The town of Ribeira Grande, renamed Cidade Velha in the late 18th century, was the first European colonia


Harbour View

This paragraph is in the center.

Early depictions of Cidade Velha's sea-frontage show a thriving, well-appointed and heavily fortified town with architectural aspirations: ships ride at anchor, the cathedral and Bishop's Palace can be seen below the plateau-top fort on the east side of the valley, the harbour is ringed with batteries, behind which poke a number of two-storey residences and church towers. The crucial point is that, as the early capital of the Cape Verde Islands, located some 350 nautical miles off the West African coast and being Portugal's main trans-shipment centre for the trans-Atlantic trade, all this was carried on a slavery-based infrastructure. 

Excavation on site

Cidade Velha excavation Dig Team 2014.

The excavations was run by a team from Cambridge University under the leadership of Chris Evans and Marie Louise Sørensen. The main focus of this year’s fieldwork season was with start of works to expose the church of Capela Nossa Senhora de Conceicao for public display (Fig. 1). It was first trench-investigated in 2006 and 2007, and subsequently the town’s mayor acquired the land to enable the excavation of this important monument – the earliest known European church in the Tropics (its present form dating to c. 1500, but likely to have an earlier precursor; i.e. c. 1470).

Excavation on site

Cidade Velha excavation Dig Team 2014.


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