HELP - Heritage, Environment, Liberty and People. Archaeology of the Spanish refugee camps in Barrancos, Alentejo (1936)

Principal researcher: Ruy Llera Blanes

External principal researcher: Xurxo Ayán Vila

Research group: Environment, Sustainability and Ethnography


Heritage | Landscape | Memory | Freedom

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia


IHC - NOVA FCSH (coord.), CRIA, LAb2PT - UMinho



Start date


End date





Between 1936 and 1939, the advance of Franco's troops and the use of criminal tactics against the civilian population led to the flight of thousands of people seeking a safe haven to avoid fascist insanity. Two are the best known episodes: the Disbandá de Málaga in February 1937 and the Retirada to France in January 1939. But there is a third flight that has not received as much attention from Spanish historiography (yes, from the Portuguese) and whose memory has begun to be claimed in recent years. We are referring to the march to Portugal of Republicans from Extremadura and Andalusia who escaped from the Badajoz pocket in September 1936 and who were confined between September 21 and October 8, 1936 in two improvised refugee camps in the Alentejo lands of Barrancos: Herdade da Coitadinha and As Russianas. The HELP project aims to undertake a comprehensive archaeological study of this traumatic and uncomfortable landscape, addressing the materiality of these 1936 refugee camps and collective imagination of the local community. To do this, the project combines Archaeology, Visual Arts, Anthropology, Museums, Contemporary History and Didactics of Social Sciences.


Inês Moreira (Lab2PT - UMinho)

Paulo Catrica (IHC - NOVA FCSH)

Rebeca Blanco Rotea (Lab2PT - UMinho)