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Environment of Archaeological Zone

We refer under this denomination to the forest space between the ruins of the archaeological site in line with the old road and the new one opened by Gas Natural-Fenosa three hundred meters to the NW at a higher level, as the first one was disabled to give place to the Conchas reservoir. The expropriated land in question was mostly close to the marsh, in part private forests of autochthonous and in many cases centennial trees. There are abundant shady oak trees and frequent clumps of birches, willows, alders, ash trees and other species of the Atlantic forest. To this we must add the characteristic disposal of the terrain in soft terraced slopes compartmentalized in plots of private ownership by means of granitic raised walls with composite settled without any mortar bond (a hueso), the traditional way. Cart ways communicate the different places of this conjoint, being today almost blind and by times chopped by the use, joining the small villages of Quintela and O Baño to each other and to their respective crop fields. Arise, in addition as an integrating element of the landscape, the big natural basin, paradise of greenness and quietness, where abundant thermal waters well , without forgetting the blue beauty of the immediate reservoir, the opulent cluster of almost centennial banana trees of the Porto Quintela mall or the fascinating beauty of the distant peaks of Fontefría in the Xurés park. In the face of the interrelationship of so notable elements it seemed to us that the most suitable way was to contribute to its full integration in a unique landscape, since there is no combination more suggestive than the tidying of the archaeological ruins within the natural surroundings which ought to be cared for,  as it is already being done and admired by everybody. However, our purpose is to go ahead with the riddance of the undergrowth within the whole ensemble of the grove, taking into account the existent stuff, raising what has  fallen and restoring the traditional landscape of the place, as it was in the past, with its enclosure walls separating the buildings, its wooden gates to close the entrances, in addition to the footpaths, quarries, mills, water sources and all types of natural or ethnographic heritage that one can come across,  trying to  build as a complement in an abandoned curve strategically set by the current road, a viewpoint tower, an imitation of the Roman  border towers from which one can contemplate the whole setting of the park and camp so beautifully integrated. This will be the starting point of a sheaf of rediscovered traditional tracks that, turned into green itineraries, will allow visitors to reach every corner of this small natural park we are referring to. The attempt is worthwhile, as confirmed by the first assessments made on what has been achieved up to now. No doubt archaeology and environment by force have to go hand in hand the moment we want to put forward the value of a historical site, designed by nature and man to be enjoyed by both the residents of the surroundings and eventual visitors.


Something we don´t want to leave unsaid regards several places to be marveled at such as Santa Comba de Bande, Castro de Vemes or Lobosandaos, Castro de Rubiás and the Roman Via of Aquis Querquernis – Lucus Augusti.

The Visigothic Basilica of Santa Comba is the most famous monument of the surroundings, just two kilometers from the Roman site as one follows the road to the Portuguese border. In its vicinity there was another Roman site definitely related, at least remotely, with the mentioned construction. The temple has been studied by various researchers who do not totally agree as regards its original structure and the phases of its construction. To our knowledge, based on a founded suspicion that before this construction there was a Paleochristian one raised  in the place as the marmoreal rests of the interior would show, the present basilica that we can contemplate would be of Visigothic date with deep reforms in the Mozarabic period in addition to the pictorial and structural reforms of the 16th century. In the interior some movable Roman elements are conserved such as a milestone showing the mile LI of the Via Nova, an ara devoted to Jupiter probably by an illustrious foreign character and the rests of a bifrontal relief of excellent execution, which may be the remains of a Roman stela.


As regards the Santa Cristina castrum, we must say that it was known with the name of Castro of Vemes in the medieval, in spite of being absent of any clue of fortress of this period inside its enclosure. It is some three kilometers distant from the camp, in a straight line, to the NW. Almost without traces of walls, that it had in the two enclosures assigned to the site, it offers a big ditch by the more vulnerable north-western side.

It has been the objective of two brief digging campaigns in 1982 and 1985 carried out under the direction of the professor Rodríguez Colmenero during which various shelters of different size and part of one of the accesses from the outer enclosure were discovered. The search resulted in findings of big interest, with door posts decorated, two daggers with antennas and several denarii of Augustus.  

It is being studied the possibility of putting forward its high value since it may constitute the largest castrum of the Quarquernos territory.


It is indeed buried under the village of the same name, in the proximity of Bande, where part of its defensive system can be perceived. Even though no programmed digging has been carried out inside the site, the occasional ransacking rests from its surroundings result of exceptional value: a dedication to Traianus, Galician warriors , architectural decorated elements, funerary epigraphs of big value etc. All these elements, especially the fact that it was in this place where the dedicatory to Traianus was found, suggest that it was in this oppidum where the capital of the Quarquernos was rooted, gradually declining due to the increasing push of the near road mansion settled in  the Limia valley.


As one leaves the village of Os Chaos to Santa Comba there is a branch way that splitting from the Via Nova heads on up to the city of Lucus, crossing the Miño by the Roman bridge of Ourense. From Os Chaos it meanders behind Santa Comba towards the foot of the southerly mount of the Lobosandaos Castro, so that from here it advances by a slope, following an optimum gradient, up to the small village of Vilela, then Rubiás and  successive other rural centres. The platform of the road, still perfect in some places, results fully noticeable and there are quite a lot the places where the hacks worked in the rock to stuff its box are perceived. Walking along this stretch, in a way, not less impressive than the Via Nova from which it splits, becomes a real pleasure.