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Middle ages
Lenght standards engraved in stone

During this period, people did their shopping at fairs and markets that were held periodically in public places such as plazas, squares, and, sometimes, outside of the walls that surrounded the towns.

Near where fairs and markets were held, it was common to find one or two length measures carved onto a stone, serving as standards. Although many of these carvings have disappeared, there are still some vestiges of these measures.

There are two replicas of these standard of lengths in the “Weights and Measures in Portugal” Exhibition:

  • the côvado of the Church of Sabugal;
  • two measures at the Church of Madalena, in Monforte; the smallest one may correspond to a half-vara of the craveiro system or a côvado of a different system.
Further information​

António Neves: aneves@ipq.pt
Museum of Metrology: museu.metrologia@ipq.pt