Megalithic / Prehistoric Sites in Menorca
Menorca has an ancient prehistoric past with settlements and megalithic monuments that can be traced back to the Bronze Age, 2000 B.C.
Naveta es Tudons - One fo the most symbolic talayotic monuments in Menorca
Trepuco - A large talayotic settlement with the islands largest Taula
Torre d'en Galmes - The largest talayotic settlement in Minorca
The prehistoric period in Menorca spans from when the first human settlements dating back to approximately 2300 B.C. until 123 B.C. when the Roman conquest occurred. The first domestic megalithic structures were being built in Menorca between 2300 B.C. and 1400 B.C and is often referred to as the pre-Talayotic period. The Naviform was the first domestic structure to be built dating back to approximately 1750 B.C. Another important structure and emblematic to Menorca that was believed to have been built during the period was the Navetas, a megalithic structure used as a burial chamber. The best preserved is the Neveta des Tudons.
The period from around 1400 B.C. is known as the Talayotic period and marks an important change, when its ancient culture would start to thrive and flourish for many years to come. This ancient civilization built 12 Talayotic villages or settlements in Menorca, located on the southern side of on island where there’s more fertile land including fresh water springs. The name Talayotic is derived from the dry stone built tower shaped structures called Talayots. Torre d’en Galmés is the largest Talayotic settlement in Menorca situated on a hill overlooking the southern coastline .
Talayots are a megalithic tower shaped structure reaching a height of 9m and located at the highest points in Talayotic settlements. Over 250 Talayot structurse have been discovered across the island. Archeologists discovered both circular and square structures which might suggest they had different functions, such as a watch tower for defense, the storage produce or for religious purposes.
Another characteristic monument built by the Talayotic people is the Taula. The Taula is a mysterious structure with a large vertical stone with a horizontal stone resting on top forming a “T” shaped monument. The Taula itself is located in the middle of a horseshoe enclosure with a slightly concave wall of surrounding stones, often facing south with a front entrance and located nearby the Talayot. Its name derived from the Catalan word "taula" meaning table and are exclusive to the island of Menorca. There is a total of 32 Taula sanctuaries located on the island with the largest discovered at Trepuca.
There are numerous theories to the purpose of these magnificent monuments, figures such as a small Bronze bull have been located nearby which might indicate items of worship and the remains of a fire pit is believed by some to have been used to sacrifice animals to a god. Other theories suggest the Talayotic culture had developed an interest into astronomy and were used as an ancient calendar, tracking the moon.
In the summer of 2015 archeologists started excavating a taula sanctuary, located just outside the city of Mahon called Sa Cudia Cremada. The site contains the last known unexcavated Taula on Menorca. For more information on the project please visit http://archaeologysacudia.com/en/.