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Talayotic Route

The earliest traces of human occupation date from 2100 B.C. Since that time up to the arrival of the Romans in 123 B.C., the island’s Prehistory unfolded in various stages. One of Menorca's most emblematic buildings, found only on the island, are the “navetas”, collective burial monuments containing up to a hundred individuals together with their grave goods, like the Es Tudons naveta near Ciutadella, with remains dating back mainly to the 9th century B.C. The “talayots”, conical dry stone towers, were built between 1000 and 700 B.C. Their main purpose was to keep watch over the surrounding area, as well as to provide a focal point for the communities living around them. During this time, known as the Talayotic period, burial caves were dug out of the cliffs in coves and ravines like the Calascoves necropolis near Alaior. The oldest are small, rounded or oval-shaped and are located in elevated areas that are difficult to reach. The post-Talayotic period started in 650 B.C. This was the time when the “taula” sanctuaries, Menorca’s most unique and distinctive constructions, were built. The enclosures are built on a horseshoe-shaped base with a concave front. They were used for human and soil fertility rituals, involving the sacrifice of domestic animals, wine libations and the symbolic breakage of amphorae.
Evidence shows that fire played a ritual and symbolic role in all these monuments. The circular houses built in the settlements were about 75-79 square metres in size. The largest known dwelling of this kind is the “Círculo Cartailhac” in the Torre d'en Galmés settlement in Alaior and dates from the 2nd century B.C. The occupants cooked, did their weaving, made cheese and milled cereal all under the same roof. The houses consisted of a central patio area, rooms with dividing doorways, a fireplace and a larder. They were built from large blocks of stone and the roof was made of wooden beams, earth and small stones. The building attached to one side of the houses is known as the hypostyle room because of the huge interlinked stone slabs forming the roof and held up by pillars. It was used as a store.
The islanders made their own handcrafted pottery using rudimentary ovens and they also produced bronze tools and utensils. They did not use coins for trading and they left no markings or rock paintings. They had no use for gold or silver as their most valuable items were made of bronze and iron. In their earliest period they built strong trading bonds with Central Europe and later with commercial cities along the Mediterranean coast.


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The Es Tudons naveta is Menorca’s most famous burial monument and is a type of tomb found only on the island. It was built using the Cyclopean technique, meaning that medium sized stones were used and they were fitted together using a dry stone walling method, with no mortar. During an archaeological dig carried out in the 1960s, led by Menorcan archaeologist María Lluïsa Serra, the scattered skeletons of a hundred individuals of both genders and all ages were discovered, many of which dated back to the 9th century B.C.Naveta des Tudons The Es Tudons naveta is Menorca’s most famous burial monument and is a type of tomb found only on the island. It was built using the Cyclopean technique, meaning that medium sized stones were used and they were fitted together using a dry stone walling method, with no mortar. During an archaeological dig carried out in the 1960s, led by Menorcan archaeologist María Lluïsa Serra, the scattered skeletons of a hundred individuals of both genders and all ages were discovered, many of which dated back to the 9th century B.C.
Detail of the gap that have appeared over time in the naveta roof,
which consists of flat stone slabs.

Inside the naveta. You can see how it is split into two levels separated by stone slabs.

View of the upper chamber of the naveta, showing the different types of stone used to build it: smaller and evenly-shaped for the walls and large flat slabs for the roof and the upper floor.

View of the entrance door from inside the lower chamber. You can see the stone slabs separating the two floors.

Some of the burial goods found in the naveta during archaeological excavation work. They are on display in the Museum of Menorca in Maó.
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An emblematic and spectacular prehistoric necropolis, both for its setting and for the large number of tombs in it. They take the form of a set of cavities excavated from the rock walls of the ravines and coastal cliff faces (about 90 altogether), used by local communities to bury their dead. Several types of cave have been documented. The necropolis was used for about 1000 years, from the 11th century B.C. up until the Romans took control.Calescoves necropolis An emblematic and spectacular prehistoric necropolis, both for its setting and for the large number of tombs in it. They take the form of a set of cavities excavated from the rock walls of the ravines and coastal cliff faces (about 90 altogether), used by local communities to bury their dead. Several types of cave have been documented. The necropolis was used for about 1000 years, from the 11th century B.C. up until the Romans took control. Read more
 
The settlement of Trepucó is one of the largest on the island, covering an area of around 49,240 square metres. Today, only a small part of the site can still be seen, the two oldest buildings, the talaiots (1000-700 B.C.). Other remains include parts of the wall, two square towers on the west wall, the taula enclosure and traces of dwellings from the post-Talayotic period (650-123 B.C.).Trepucó talayotic settlement The settlement of Trepucó is one of the largest on the island, covering an area of around 49,240 square metres. Today, only a small part of the site can still be seen, the two oldest buildings, the talaiots (1000-700 B.C.). Other remains include parts of the wall, two square towers on the west wall, the taula enclosure and traces of dwellings from the post-Talayotic period (650-123 B.C.).
The taula enclosure is one of the biggest on the island, despite having been subjected to what, by today’s standards, would be considered clumsy restoration work. This is one of the sites excavated around 1930 by Margaret Murray, a British archaeologist who was a pioneer of scientific research on Prehistoric Menorca.
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The Municipal Museum of Ciutadella – Bastió de sa Font, is a general history and archaeological museum with a permanent exhibition on the history of Ciutadella and of the island itself from prehistoric times through to the Muslim era and the arrival of king Alfonso III in 1287. Visitors can take a tour through the island's various historical periods, represented by the archaeological remains and artefacts on display.
The Historic and Artistic Museum of Ciutadella was officially opened in 1935 on the ground floor of the Town Hall. Municipal Museum of Ciutadella The Municipal Museum of Ciutadella – Bastió de sa Font, is a general history and archaeological museum with a permanent exhibition on the history of Ciutadella and of the island itself from prehistoric times through to the Muslim era and the arrival of king Alfonso III in 1287. Visitors can take a tour through the island's various historical periods, represented by the archaeological remains and artefacts on display. The Historic and Artistic Museum of Ciutadella was officially opened in 1935 on the ground floor of the Town Hall. Read more
 
Torre d’en Galmés is the largest settlement in Menorca, covering 66,240 m2. Its hilltop location made it the ideal spot for keeping watch over the land on most of the island's south coast. In chronological terms, it was occupied from the Naviforme period (1700-1400 B.C.), and you can still see an underground chamber from this period near the area where water was collected, right through until the late Roman era, although some remains have been found from the Islamic era (12th century A.D.). Torre d'en Galmés talayotic settlement Torre d’en Galmés is the largest settlement in Menorca, covering 66,240 m2. Its hilltop location made it the ideal spot for keeping watch over the land on most of the island's south coast. In chronological terms, it was occupied from the Naviforme period (1700-1400 B.C.), and you can still see an underground chamber from this period near the area where water was collected, right through until the late Roman era, although some remains have been found from the Islamic era (12th century A.D.).
The site consists of a public area, with three talaiots (1000-700 B.C.) standing on top of the hill, plus the taula enclosure next to the middle talaiot, dating from the post-Talayotic period (650-123 B.C.). The capital of this taula was re-used as a tombstone in the late Roman or medieval period. An archaeological dig carried out in 1974 unearthed a bronze Egyptian figure of the god Imhotep, now displayed in the Museum of Menorca together with other ritual objects found on the site. The figure was most likely acquired between the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C.
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Torretrencada is a Talayotic settlement (1000-700 B.C.) that was occupied until the Roman conquest in 123 B.C. Several of its monuments can still be seen. They include the talayot a seriest of artificial burial caves dug out of the rocky ground and burial chambers carved in the rock, probably dating from the high medieval period. The taula is one of the most beautiful on the island, with a reinforcement pillar at the back, but all that is left of the surrounding wall is a section underneath the modern dry-stone wall. The site dates back to the post-Talayotic period (650-123 B.C.) and was used by the community for performing rituals.Torretrencada talayotic settlement Torretrencada is a Talayotic settlement (1000-700 B.C.) that was occupied until the Roman conquest in 123 B.C. Several of its monuments can still be seen. They include the talayot a seriest of artificial burial caves dug out of the rocky ground and burial chambers carved in the rock, probably dating from the high medieval period. The taula is one of the most beautiful on the island, with a reinforcement pillar at the back, but all that is left of the surrounding wall is a section underneath the modern dry-stone wall. The site dates back to the post-Talayotic period (650-123 B.C.) and was used by the community for performing rituals. Read more
 
Talatí de Dalt is one of the island's most significant prehistoric settlements. It consists of various monuments: an elliptical-shaped conical talaiot, a taula enclosure, an area with dwellings and some caves.Talatí de Dalt talayotic settlement Talatí de Dalt is one of the island's most significant prehistoric settlements. It consists of various monuments: an elliptical-shaped conical talaiot, a taula enclosure, an area with dwellings and some caves.
The taula enclosure at Talatí de Dalt is one of the largest and most beautiful in Menorca. It has an unusual aspec, as the pillar and its capital are leaning against the side edge of the centre T, probably because they fell over accidentally. In the 1960s, an archaeological dig documented the characteristic objects used in the rituals held at these sites in the post-Talayotic period (650-123 B.C.), including evidence of fire, the remains of the bones of lambs and kid goats, plus amphorae for wine.
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The Rafal Rubí navetas are two tombs of the same type as the Naveta des Tudons, but these are smaller and are unusual in that they are very close to one another. They are group burials with a perforated stone slab at the entrance to the inner chamber, which is split into two levels. Of the two navetas, the east one is in better condition, as the front was restored in the late 1960s, when an archaeological dig was also carried out during which burial goods were found, including pottery items, rhomboid-shaped bronze pendants and part of a torc. The west naveta was excavated in 1977 and the human remains found in the upper chamber were dated to 904 B.C.The Rafal Rubí navetas The Rafal Rubí navetas are two tombs of the same type as the Naveta des Tudons, but these are smaller and are unusual in that they are very close to one another. They are group burials with a perforated stone slab at the entrance to the inner chamber, which is split into two levels. Of the two navetas, the east one is in better condition, as the front was restored in the late 1960s, when an archaeological dig was also carried out during which burial goods were found, including pottery items, rhomboid-shaped bronze pendants and part of a torc. The west naveta was excavated in 1977 and the human remains found in the upper chamber were dated to 904 B.C.
The items found are on display in the Museum of Menorca.
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One of the interesting things about this monument is that in 1995 it was moved and rebuilt because of runway extension work at Menorca airport. The project was promoted and sponsored by AENA, the Spanish airport authority. The monument originally stood in the Talayotic settlement of Biniparratxet Petit in the south-eastern side of the island, near the town of Sant Lluís. It is currently open to visitors in the gardens of the airport complex.Biniparratxet Petit talayotic house One of the interesting things about this monument is that in 1995 it was moved and rebuilt because of runway extension work at Menorca airport. The project was promoted and sponsored by AENA, the Spanish airport authority. The monument originally stood in the Talayotic settlement of Biniparratxet Petit in the south-eastern side of the island, near the town of Sant Lluís. It is currently open to visitors in the gardens of the airport complex.
It is a typical post-Talayotic dwelling in a good state of preservation and dating from the last stage of the island's Prehistoric era. The house has a central patio and 5 pillars marking out a series of domestic areas for various purposes: handling food, stores and water-catchment systems. In fact, the ground in the patio area contains tanks for storing water and waste items from the house.
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