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The talayotic settlement of Torre d'en Galmés, extending over six hectares, the biggest in Minorca and one of the biggest in the Balearic Islands. The settlement is highly monumental and preserves a great diversity of constructions of a remarkable quality.
It is set on a hill, from which there is a perfect panoramic view over most of the south coast of Minorca. This privileged setting added to the three talayots lead specialists to think that Torre d'en Galmés exercised some degree of supremacy over the rest of the settlements on the island.
It was occupied during the Early Bronze Age, around 1,600 B.C., and judging from the remains found, remained so until the mediaeval era. In its heyday, from 1,300 B.C. until the Roman Era, some 900 persons must have lived there.
The Torre d'en Galmés site consists of a large number of constructions, among them its three talayots, numerous circular talayotic houses, the taula enclosure, a hypostyle hall, a water collection system and up to four hypogeums than would originally have had a funerary function.
The area now forms part of a museum and has a an interpretation centre that is well worth calling in on before your visit.

Torre d’en Galmés talayotic settlement

The talayotic settlement of Torre d'en Galmés, extending over six hectares, the biggest in Minorca and one of the biggest in the Balearic Islands. The settlement is highly monumental and preserves a great diversity of constructions of a remarkable quality.
It is set on a hill, from which there is a perfect panoramic view over most of the south coast of Minorca. This privileged setting added to the three talayots lead specialists to think that Torre d'en Galmés exercised some degree of supremacy over the rest of the settlements on the island.
It was occupied during the Early Bronze Age, around 1,600 B.C., and judging from the remains found, remained so until the mediaeval era. In its heyday, from 1,300 B.C. until the Roman Era, some 900 persons must have lived there.
The Torre d'en Galmés site consists of a large number of constructions, among them its three talayots, numerous circular talayotic houses, the taula enclosure, a hypostyle hall, a water collection system and up to four hypogeums than would originally have had a funerary function.
The area now forms part of a museum and has a an interpretation centre that is well worth calling in on before your visit.



 
Detailed description

The talayotic settlement of Torre d'en Galmés is the biggest on the island. It dominates the south coast of the island from its hill top location, extending along the hillside, spanning an area of six hectares. Numerous constructions of remarkable architectural quality have been identified in the settlement.

- Circular talayotic houses (which have already been excavated):

"House 1": Located beside the taula enclosure, built immediately in front of a natural cave. The inner face is made of small stones and built-in pilasters. The external face cannot be seen due to the accumulation of stones. Two large spaces have been documented on each side of a small irregular courtyard, with a cistern hewn out of the rock. Everything points to its being abandoned around the third century B.C.

“House 2": Set alongside the entry to the settlement, it is largely circular, except for one side, and its external face is built with a plinth and vertically-placed stones. Its spacious entry leads to an interior divided into a series of radial spaces set around a central courtyard, in which there is a cistern. These spaces must originally have been oval, but were modified later, in the Roman era. Next to one of the courtyards, a hypogeum with a trilobe floor plan appeared under a Roman wall, possibly used in burials during the Early Bronze Age and reused as a cistern when the house was inhabited. Its use is documented up to the third century A.D.

“House 3": adjoining the previous house. Its floor has not been complete conserved. Its exterior is built with a face of regular courses of stone, with small stones in the interior. In the middle is the living area, which must have been linked to the central courtyard. A series of small walls divides up the space. There is a covered area, presumably a cistern. The North African pottery of the second century A.D. found indicates that it was also used in the Roman Era.

“House 6": is circular, with its entrance oriented to the south. It was constructed with a double faced wall, the exterior with a plinth and vertical blocks, the interior with small stones and monolithic pilasters. The rooms are set out around the central courtyard. In one of them a large silo has been documented but not yet excavated. This material is awaiting study, but everything indicates that it would have been occupied at least until the first century B.C.

“House 7": roughly circular, and adjoining "House 6", with which it shares a wall. One of its walls has a façade with a lintel. The exterior wall is built with a plinth into which vertical blocks are placed. For the interior wall small stones and polylithic pilasters are used. The courtyard occupies the central space, with the living area in one corner with the rooms around it. This material documents its occupation in the fourth-third century B.C.

“Building 1": is set in the south of the settlement. This circular house of the Talayotic era has undergone significant modifications at different times which have totally changed its initial internal structure. But these modifications let us distinguish different occupations of the settlement: in the Imperial Roman and Islamic eras.

“Building 2": practically adjoining "Building 1", but without actually sharing a wall. Has a rectangular floor plan with rounded corners. Its wall is double faced, with large vertical blocks and a plinth on the exterior and small stones inside. Its interior has been heavily modified by later constructions from the Islamic era, specifically an intact Islamic kitchen has been documented. According to the University of Boston team who excavated this building, it would not have had the typical open-air central courtyard of talayotic houses, but a covered space. As in the other building, different eras of occupation have been detected.

"Cartailhac House": the most monumental house on the entire site, due to its size (it covers 145 m2) and all the additional elements: covered site, courtyard with covered passageway, oven, quadrangular room. In constructive terms, we find the same features as in the other houses: double-faced wall, exterior of vertical blocks over a plinth, and small stones and monolithic pilasters in the interior. Its internal layout is identical to the other houses, with a central courtyard with the living area at one side and the rooms around it. Of particular interest are its very monumental façade, with trabeated door and one of its columns very finely worked. Some of the capitals above the columns are still preserved. Its construction and use must have occurred between the third and second centuries B.C.

Throughout the settlement, remains of many other houses can be seen, as yet not excavated. In fact, during the cleaning exercise carried out in 1974 at least 27 more structures of houses were identified.

- There are three talayots on the hill:

"Talayot 1": to the east. Only the upper part can be distinguished. It has a circular floor and two small portals that give access to a now demolished passageway.

"Talayot 2": in the centre, this is the biggest, and was built in layers. In the upper part there is an access door which would have led to an oval chamber . One wall adjoins "Talayot 3".

"Talayot 3": to the west. Has an access portal on its upper part, an oval floor plan and a truncated cone shaped profile.

- Taula or sanctuary area:

This is located to the south of the site, lower down than the central talayot. Its floor takes the form of a horseshoe and its façade is concave. Its interior follows the construction technique of plinth, orthostates and horizontal courses of stones at the front and small stones with monolithic pilasters in the apse area. It also has eight pilasters embedded in the wall. At the top of the wall the courses come together slightly towards the interior of the space, giving the impression of a small porch. The technique used in the exterior is horizontal courses of stones. The capital stone was reused as a sarcophagus and at an indeterminate era, a tomb was excavated here.

- Hypostyle hall or covered site, adjoining "House 6 ": This has an elongated floor plan, and follows the line of "House 6 ". Its entrance has been lost and its location cannot now be seen. Inside, it has three polylithic columns that hold up the roof slabs. There are monolithic pillars supported by the wall of "house 6", which acts as a support for the slabs.

- Water collection system and silos: Located in the southern sector of the settlement. There are up to 10 pools linked with channels making a drainage system. Nearby, there are 6 silos with different dimensions and sections, as well as a hypogeum reused as a cistern.

- Wall: in the lower part of the settlement, the door of a first line of wall that enclosed the oldest part has been identified. With the growth of the settlement, new houses were built whose outer walls form a second line of enclosure.

- Hypogeums or artificial and/or adapted natural caves, originally with a funerary function. Inside the settlement’s enclosure:

"Hypogeum 1": with corridor, taking advantage of the water collection system. With a trilobe floor plan, it has three excavated tombs. The access passageway is covered with three slabs that rest on a course of stones. On one side of this passageway is a semicircular cavity with a shelf. The access portal has been lowered. This is an Early Bronze Age burial hypogeum that bears witness to the occupation of this area in an era before the talayotic culture. This Early Bronze Age occupation has also been documented by archaeological excavation, and some fragments of pottery belonging to this prehistoric cultural phase have been recovered.

"Hypogeum 2": with a tetralobe floor plan, is located beside the path. It has a passageway covered by bringing the stone courses together.

"Hypogeum 3": has an opening in the roof, framed by small slabs. It has a double portal with a monolithic column and a recess as corbel. In the larger there are seven different sized holes and it has an unroofed access passageway. There is a silo nearby. Arab pottery has been found on the surface.

"Hypogeum 4": located to the right of the access path to the houses, it has a practically circular chamber.

Classification:
Talayotic settlement.

Municipality:
Alaior.

Chronological period:
Early Bronze Age - Middle Bronze Age - Iron - Roman Conquest - Islamic.

Objects found:
- Prehistoric, Carthaginian, Ibiza, Roman, Iberian and Islamic pottery.
- Set of coins from the first century A.D. and one Carthaginian coin.
- Typical Mediterranean species: pig, sheep, goat and cow. ?- Parts of a vitreous paste necklace.
- Awls made of bone.
- Hammer.
- Hand mills.
- Mortars.
- Several bronze and iron objects.

Constructions:
- Enclosure wall.
- Taula enclosure.
- Sanctuary.?- Water collection system.
- Megalithic tomb.
- Houses.
- Hypogeum.
- Silo.
- Talayots.
- Hypostyle hall.

 
Archaeological interventions

The first archaeological excavation was carried out in 1942 by archaeologist J. Flaquer, in the taula enclosure and the hypostyle hall. During the nineteen seventies and eighties, the taula enclosure and the water collection system were excavated, and the hypostyle hall was consolidated.

In 1974, G. Rosselló-Brodoy and Ll. Plantalamor excavated in the undisturbed sector under some large blocks of stone. During the dig they recovered one of the most emblematic figures of our prehistory: IMHOTEP, a bronze figure representing the priest-vizier from the third Egyptian dynasty, a reputed architect, doctor and man of science who built the first stepped cone of Ancient Egypt during the time of the Pharaoh Djoser. In the Saite Period he became popular, and was compared to Asclepius, whose worship was relatively normal in the cities of the eastern Mediterranean around the fifth-fourth centuries B.C., causing extensive production and commercialisation of the statue with his effigy. From 2001 onwards numerous excavations were carried out of the different talayot buildings and houses.

 
Legal protections

BIC no. of the Island Council of Minorca: 000151.
?BIC no. of the Balearic Islands Government: 7002-2-2-55-002847-0.?
BIC no. of the Ministry of Culture: RI - 55-0000686 - 00000.? Decree no. 2563/1966, of 10 September: 1604.
Declared Historic-Artistic monument by decree of 1604 June 1931.

 
Bibliography

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FERRER, A.; JUAN, G.; LARA, C.; PONS, J. El jaciment de Torre d’en Galmés (Alaior, Menorca). Les intervencions d’Amics del Museu de Menorca: Cercle 7. LPHC 4. Consell Insular de Menorca. 2011.
FLAQUER I FABREGUES, J. Alayor (Menorca), Torre d’en Gaumés. Excavaciones de 1943. NAH1. Consell Insular de Menorca. 1952.
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JUAN, G.; PONS, J. Excavació i restauració cercle d’habitació talaiòtic a Torre d’en Galmés. LPHC 3. Consell Insular de Menorca. 2007.
JUAN I BENEJAM, G. El poblament de Menorca; de la prehistòria a la baixa romanitat (aproximació a una proposta d’ànalisi de distribució espacial). Treballs del Mme 13. Conselleria de Cultura, Educació i Esports del Govern Balear. 1991.
JUAN BENEJAM,G.; LARA ASTIZ, C.; PONS MACHADO, J. Torre d’en Galmés. Control del Territori a la Menorca prehistòrica. Consell Insular de Menorca. 2007.
JUAN BENEJAM,G.; PONS MACHADO, J. Campanyes d’excavació arqueològica d’Amics del Museu de Menorca a Torre d’en Galmés: anys 2001-2004. JEHL XXIII. Institut d’Estudis Baleàrics. 2005.
JUAN BENEJAM,G.; PONS MACHADO, J. El jaciment de Torre d'en Galmés (Alaior, Menorca). Les intervencions d'Amics del Museu de Menorca: Edifici . LPHC 4. Consell Insular de Menorca. 2011.
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ORFILA, M.; SINTES G. Estudio preliminar sobre la perduración del habitat en los conjuntos talayóticos menorquines. Mayurqa 20. Universitat de les Illes Balears. 1980.
ORFILA PONS M.; RITA LARRUCEA, C.; PLANTALAMOR MASSANET, LL.; TUSET BERTRAN F. Arqueología. Enciclopedia Me VIII. Obra Cultural de Menorca. 1995.
PONS MACHADO, J. LARA ASTIZ, C. 2006. lTorre d'en Galmés (Alaior, Menorca) . A Historia de las Islas Baleares. Tomo 16: patrimonio històrico y artístico. Ed. El Mundo-El Dia de Baleares. Edicions de Turisme Cultural. ISBN-10: 84-95473-95-X. pgs. 213-215.
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SINTES OLIVES, E.; ISBERT VAQUER, F. Investigación arqueológica y puesta en valor del Recinto Cartailhac. Una unidad doméstica del s.II ANE en el poblado talayótico de Torre d’en Galmés. PCE 1. Ministerio de Cultura. 2009.

 
Practical information

Access:
Reached by the Alaior to Son Bou road. At the 2.2 kilometre mark, turn left along a rural path and continue for 1.3 kilometres to reach the site. Accessible by taking itinerary 16 of the Camí dels Cavalls path (Son Bou - Cala en Porter). Road signs to site.
Open to the general public.

Parking:
Yes.
There is parking space for 10 cars at the settlement and a second space for 10/15 cars at the Interpretation Centre.

Visits:
Approximate opening hours

January to April - every day - free access
May to October - Mondays, free access - Tuesday to Saturday, 10 to 14 and 16 to 20 h - Sundays, 10 to 14 h
November and December - every day - free access

Prices

Consult web site: www.menorca.es or Tel. 902 929 015.

Information panels on site.

There is an Interpretation Centre with explanatory videos, information panels and reproductions of archaeological material recovered on the site. Visits by prior arrangement.

Ownership and management:
Ownership of the Ministry of Culture and management by the Destino Minorca Foundation.

 

 
 
 
Consell Insular de Menorca
MINORCA TALAYOTIC - World Heritage Nomination
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