14.- Castro of Chao Samartín The site chosen for the establishment of the castro lays on a tenuous promontory raised over its immediate surroundings due to a deep depression in which the Cabalos river flows. a tributary of the Agüeira river on its right bank. This natural defence of the western flank is completed with the man-made structures in the southern and eastern slopes. which are more vulnerable. Chao Samartín is located on this modest hill. The natural isolation of the enclosure of its western flank. with the enormous depression opened by the erosive work of the Cabalos river. is completed by a magnificent defensive structure which flanks its southern and eastern parts. This structure is made up of a great pit that segregates the promontory where the town rises and of a wall line over the trench. Two spaces are fundamentally distinguished inside the enclosure. On one side. at its western end. we can find a flattened platform slightly topographically highlighted in relation to the rest of the interior space due to a small rocky ledge. This strip of land. called acropolis. was individualized in the oldest phases of the occupation of the site by means of a defensive system combining the excavation of a moat and the construction of a wall on the eastern slope with the construction on the western side of a palisade. The holes of the palisade in which the supporting posts were inserted are preserved as a mark of its destruction. A large hut of oblong plan has been identified as the only architectural vestige. Access to this venue opens at noon. The area forming the main enclosure of the settlement extends to the east of the acropolis. delimited by the defensive belt still visible and safely guarded. at least. since the Iron Age. The site was first occupied during the first years of the 8th century BC. There is evidence of the first vestiges of human activity during that time in the area of the western precinct. This primitive phase has a short duration ending in the 7th century BC. when a fire destroyed the settlement. During the Iron Age the occupation was reflected on the entire surface of the site. now delimited by a defensive system composed of moats and walls. The vicissitudes related to the subsequent constructions and collapses of this structure are extremely complex until the consolidation. towards the 4th to 2nd centuries BC. of a defensive landscape formed by a typical modular structure replacing its linear precedents and the great eastern moat. The first vestiges of Roman presence go back to the initial decades of the 1st century AD. The Romans inaugurated a period of splendour that would last. at least. until the end of the century. This phenomenon is related to the role played by the settlement of military troops and the administrative importance that the settlement should have acquired in the region in these times. It is precisely with these facts that we must understand the construction of the northern domus that will centralize the administrative life of a town still fortified. The militarized nature of this first phase of the Castilian-Roman era will be replaced by an open settlement during the Flavian era or soon after. in which the walls lose their function and the pits are reduced. This period will continue until the last days of the early imperial history of the settlement. which was established around the last decades of the 2nd century AD. when one or several seismic shocks caused the sudden collapse of certain buildings and triggered the abandonment of the site. The resumption of the settlement will take place in the early medieval period. However. this new occupation will be very different from the ones before. Radiocarbon allows us to date between the 8th and 10th centuries DC the installation. on the deposits close to the ruins of the imperial domus. of a necropolis whose delimitation in extension seems to adhere to that of the underlying upper imperial building. In this same period. a phenomenon of looting of the imperial structures is detected. which is spread quite broadly by large sectors of the deposit.