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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Atlanterra Project Business Meeting – Castro Verde, Portugal

Members of the Atlanterra Project Team in the Beja City Park, Beja, Alentejo, Portugal

The Fifth Business Meeting of the Atlanterra Project was held between the 5th and 9th of October in Castro Verde, Alentejo, Southern Portugal, attended by Stephen Hughes and Spencer Smith. The host was one of our Portuguese project partners, the Agência de Desenvolvimento Regional do Alentejo (ADRAL) – Alentejo Regional Development Agency.

As part of the Meeting Agenda, excursions were arranged to the mining areas of São Domingos, Aljustrel and Lousal in order see how both ADRAL and Laboratório Nacional De Energia e Geologica (LNEG) - National Laboratory for Energy and Geology - were working within the wider community.

One of the major problems faced at the mining sites visited was pollution. Some of this can be quite obvious in terms of the pollution caused by the extraction and processing of minerals, but pollution can also be considered in terms of the environmental impact of successive phases of mining machinery or buildings remaining in-situ after the end of their working lives. There are problems in terms of the increasing size of cemetery populations from the influx of people and their families who work the mining sites and also in terms of attempts to increase tourist footfall to sites which have begun to develop their own niche and sometimes fragile ecosystems.

At each of these sites the process has begun of turning a derelict mining site into a tourist destination. The work of the RCAHMW as Atlanterra project partners is helping in the process of applying best practice to interpreting these mining sites through archaeological recording and CGI reconstructions of the sites as they looked when they were in operation.

Any questions or enquiries about the work of the Atlanterra project can be directed to either Stephen Hughes or Spencer Smith

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