When it awoke, everyone had already left…

This is how the history of depopulation of rural Galicia begins, making it an uninhabited landscape on its way to becoming a demographic desert.

The Ribeira Sacra is no exception, victim of touristification and the attempt to convert this area into nothing more than a ‘brand’, empty of cultural and human content.

The traditional communities of the Ribeira Sacra must confront, yet again, the power of the State, but this time they do so with the real fear of their own disappearance.

Our script starts here. The project Adegas da Memoria (‘Memory Cellars’) aims to first give the word to one of the abovementioned communities – the residents of Vilachá – and second, carry out a scientific study of their territory and its origins.

The whole process will be filmed to make a documentary series that will be released online on this website, Vimeo and our social media.

The series is divided into four themed seasons that correspond with the four pillars of our project:

The Heritage of the People: Season one is an introduction to Vilachá. The local residents talk to us about their land, the vineyards, wineries, legends and folklore, everyday life in the Ribeira, stories of Francoist oppression, etc. These are some of the themes that are portrayed in the collective fresco that is ‘The Heritage of the People’.

Os Conventos: On the banks of the Val do Frade (‘The Friar’s Valley’) there is a place that the residents call Os Conventos (‘The Convents’). What we can see of it on ground surface is a series of structures with thick walls forming rectangular spaces and which differ from the layout of the terrace walls … We chose this spot to carry out an archaeological dig with the hope of shedding light on the origins of the Ribeira Sacra.

The Terraces: If we had to choose one defining feature of the Ribeira Sacra, it would definitely be the 'pataos', the terraces that sculpt the riverbanks from top to bottom. The collective imagination has accepted the myth that the Romans built this landscape, but… who really built it? When and why? We aim to answer these questions, with the help of a group of archaeologists and edaphologists from Incipit-CSIC and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

The Wine Cellars: If the terraces or 'pataos' are a defining feature of the Ribeira Sacra, then the traditional wine cellars are defining of Vilachá. In tourist information panels and leaflets they are often described as ‘millenarian’, but is this true? As in the case of the terraces, the cellars haven’t yet been subject to thorough scientific research. An expert in archaeology of architecture, Sonia García, will study their origin and building phases over time.