The settling factors of Roman villas in southern Lusitania

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The Romans arrived to the Iberian Peninsula in the 3rd century B.C.: they transformed the Hispanian administration, the landscape and culture. The area of Lusitania expanded in the middle and southern part of Portugal, south from the River Douro, as well as on the autonom community of Extremadura, Spain. The production of the Roman villas gave the great mass the agricultural and commercial background of the Province. These produced wares got to the several lands of the Empire on the well-established road network and across the rivers and seas. The Roman villa was on a cultivation- and stock-raising-adapted farming unit with living houses, bath, and outbuildings, which had the biggest importance. The villas of Lusitania were concetrated into several groups: around the cities of Cascais and Lisboa, Èvora and Mèrida, as well. A bigger group ran along the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula: the villas presented in this study (e.g., Milreu, Cerro da Vila, and Abicada) were specialized on seafood products and maritime trade. Other sites are also known where the presence of a villa has not been discovered yet, but where economic and industrial facilities were excavated (e.g., cetaria, which means a basin for the production of the fish sauce garum in the Portuguese terminology).

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