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Via Nova Mansion


Aquis Querquennis was the third of the Via Nova mansions, being Bracara the starting point, which together with Bergidum  achieved the highest urbanistic development, becoming during the 2nd century the true capital of the Quarquernos, if we take into account Ptolomeo´s reference who considered it a polis (city).

On the other hand, the reference to the Itinerary of Antoninus, assigning it a distance 53 miles from Braga, has been strengthen recently with the discovery of a big milestone very near the thermae, fact that fully confirms the datum, traditionally transmitted as precise.

However, apart from vague information about diverse findings on the surface near the area of the thermal water springs, little is still known about this civil establishment, due to the fact that, in comparison with the camp, it is still little what has been excavated in this sector. 

His digging was tried one day in the past in the area close to the water springs, but it became impossible because of the sudden appearance of the phreatic level.

Once again it was tried in 1985 near the ancient road, in front and on the opposite side of the missing rectorial house of O Baño, and although the excavation seemed to be worthwhile, the project designed there was not finished, hoping that in the next future it may deserve the attention of those responsible for the archaeological investigation.

Where, hovever, works of undoubted value were carried out in the sector closer to the camp, half way between this and the thermal water springs and in a sloping zone towards the north east.

The structures here discovered, conserved in some sectors up to 125 centimeters height, correspond to three types of constructions: a walled yard with its central cistern, south; a big warehouse with the roof supported, in a first phase, on thick granitic pillars  and provided of baking oven, north west and in the second phase with diverse rooms of a construction of a more refined character where one can recognize drainage canals, good looking homes  and a big entrance of double void to which one would access  by means of external stairs from the contiguous eastern via, considering the uneven existing level. After the door, inwards, there is a hall paved with granitic blocks that works as a distributor for a superbly drained stable yard and for the proper house. Besides, one can remark two peculiarities in the compound: the first is that there is a primitive lodging level, later demolished to give way to new constructions, and the second is that the primitive stable yard surface was reduced to allow for the expansion of the habitable area, no doubt necessary for the development of the increasing activity of the establishment.

 In spite of the amount that remains to be dug out, we would not be so daring as to cast reliable hypotheses concerning the function of these constructions.

Our first impression is that they were inn-like buildings or whatever name they may receive as regards their aim.

Let us add that in the old church of O Baño a Palaeo-christian memorial tablet was found in the 19th century dated from the 6th mid-century which refers to a 17 year old boy, named Alepio, buried in that place.

On the other hand, the high medieval documents mention the existence of two half-demolished basilicas there, one devoted to St. Martin and the other one to St. Johannes (John) the Baptist.

When such a combination conveys, in Pierre David´s opinion, we can well be in sight of the existence of a Suevian parochial, which we find it reasonable to identify with the Cerecis instead of Cercenis, as it is known, belonging to the Bracarense diocese in the Suevian-Visigothic epoch, according to the Parochiale Suevicum