Guadiana last day

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Guadiana map

TRACCE no. 13 – by Mila Simoes de Abreu, Andrea Arcà


Alea jacta est. Within few hours the Portuguese-Spanish Alqueva dam water will start to submerge thousands of years of human history and archaeological remains: hundreds of prehistoric engraved rocks, Roman mills, millenarian olive-groves and cork-plantations will be lost forever under the Portuguese Archaeological Institute blessing.


13 – April 2001      special issue devoted to the Guadiana Rock Art

We need other 156 signatures!


Guadiana map

In 2002, the Alqueva dam will submerge a vast area in southern of Portugal and a zone in Spain. It will be the biggest artificial lake in Europe. The environmental consequences are appalling. Eight hundred rock-surfaces with tens of thousands mysterious prehistoric petroglyphs and hundreds of archaeological sites are going to disappear.

Rock-art experts believe that hunter-gatherers and early agriculturists made these puzzling rock-engravings during the later part of the Stone Age (Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic).

Many people say the rock-art of the Guadiana Valley is doomed, the dam is build and nothing can be done. Right-minded people, especially conscientious rock-art researchers and archaeologists, cannot let this happen without protest.

For archaeology, one third of the area in Portugal was not surveyed; some methodology was old-fashioned and quite inappropriate.

There is a selection of documentation and material about this matter on these web pages.

Please help spread the word. Sign the petition – http://www.PetitionOnline.com/Alqueva/petition.html

We need urgently to arrive to 2002 signatures.

With the help of good people around the world, there may still be a chance to document the rock-art of the Guadiana Valley in the proper way.

Thank you for your support.

Mila Simoes de Abreu – (IFRAO – Portugal)


7 February 2002: The Guadiana River last day

Alea jacta est. Within few hours the Portuguese-Spanish Alqueva dam water will start to submerge thousands of years of human history and archaeological remains: hundreds of prehistoric engraved rocks, Roman mills, millenarian olive-groves and cork-plantations will be lost forever under the Portuguese Archaeological Institute blessing. The natural river environment which will be destroyed is rich, invaluable and unpolluted. It is a fertile host of animals in extinction risk, one of the last remaining in Europe. The Alqueva dam will produce irreversible long-term damns to the local climate, offering unlikely benefits to the farmers and sure gains to the builders. The whole political Portuguese and European class incapacity to properly evaluate such a situation and mainly the Archaeological Portuguese and European milieu inability to oppose such a realisation make possible the perpetration of one of the largest environmental crimes ever committed in Europe. The flooding button which is switched on today is the act of an already resigning ministry, a sad last strike, a leaving the scene worthy of a régime last days piece. Some people will be remembered for what they built, some others for what they destroyed. Being unable of doing otherwise, we will try remember, at least, these facts and these responsibilities: to err is human; to persevere in it is evil.

If you didn’t already sign the Alqueva online petition please do it now and spread this message: http://www.petitiononline.com/Alqueva/petition.html
It’s very important: now or never more…

Alea jacta est. L’acqua che tra poco riempirà l’invaso Ibero-Portoghese dell’Alqueva cancellerà per sempre, con la benedizione dell’Istituto Portoghese di Archeologia, millenni di archeologia e di storia umana e millenni di simbiosi tra uomo e territorio, dalle numerose e preziose testimonianze di arte preistorica ai mulini romani, agli uliveti e ai sughereti millenari. Distruggerà un ambiente fluviale naturale ricco, prezioso e incontaminato, tra gli ultimi a resistere in Europa, generoso ospite di specie a rischio di estinzione. A lungo termine creerà danni irreversibili al clima dell’intera regione circostante, a fronte di benefici molto improbabili per gli agricoltori e di guadagni certi per i costruttori. L’incapacità di tutta la classe politica Portoghese ed Europea di comprendere una tale situazione e soprattutto l’incapacità del mondo archeologico Portoghese ed Europeo di opporsi a tale realizzazione rendono possibile il compimento di uno dei più grandi crimini ambientali mai perpetrati in Europa. Il bottone che oggi viene premuto, quello che farà affluire l’acqua nell’invaso, è l’atto di un ministro già dimissionario in vista della prossima scadenza elettorale: un triste colpo di coda, un’uscita di scena degna di uno spettacolo da ultimi giorni di regime. Alcuni vengono ricordati per ciò che hanno costruito, altri per quello che hanno distrutto. Non potendo fare nulla altro, ricorderemo, almeno, questi fatti e queste responsabilità: errare è umano, perseverare è diabolico. Oddio, EDIA…

Se non avete ancora firmato la petizione contro l’Alqueva, fatelo ora e diffondete questo messaggio: http://www.petitiononline.com/Alqueva/petition.html
Ora, o mai più…

Andrea Arcà – the TRACCE editor

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