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This is one of the largest and most spectacular prehistoric settlements in Minorca. The settlement's high point occurred during the Carthaginian commercial expansion, but it was in use until the mediaeval era.
It consists of two talayots, the taula enclosure, a hypostyle hall, some caves excavated into the subsoil and other remnants of buildings in the surrounding area.
The taula and its area are the most spectacular remains of this settlement. This is a building for worship, in the form of a horseshoe with side chapels. The taula itself consists of two large blocks of stone, one vertical and the other horizontal, magnificently crafted. During various digs held in this area, a figure of a bronze bull and other objects of worship were found near a stone altar, today on display in the Museum of Minorca.

Torralba d’en Salort talayotic settlement

This is one of the largest and most spectacular prehistoric settlements in Minorca. The settlement's high point occurred during the Carthaginian commercial expansion, but it was in use until the mediaeval era.
It consists of two talayots, the taula enclosure, a hypostyle hall, some caves excavated into the subsoil and other remnants of buildings in the surrounding area.
The taula and its area are the most spectacular remains of this settlement. This is a building for worship, in the form of a horseshoe with side chapels. The taula itself consists of two large blocks of stone, one vertical and the other horizontal, magnificently crafted. During various digs held in this area, a figure of a bronze bull and other objects of worship were found near a stone altar, today on display in the Museum of Minorca.




 
Detailed description

The Torralba d’en Salort talayotic settlement has several monumental constructions and a range of structures:

- Two circular talayots:

The larger one is set at the highest point of the settlement. In spite of its ruined state, it seems to have a truncated cone shaped profile with an almost cylindrical stone in the centre. There are other adjoining constructions, covered with sediment.

The other talayot is set next to the taula enclosure. It has been excavated, and only part of the outer wall has been conserved, showing squared cyclopean blocks. This was built over a Middle Bronze Age structure, probably a dwelling that must have been demolished when the taula enclosure was built. The C-14 dating of the pre-Talayotic structure places its use around the thirteenth century B.C.

- Taula enclosure:

This is one of the largest and most perfect constructions of its kind on the island. The floor is cut into the solid rock, and slopes upwards from the portal to the building’s interior. It has a horseshoe shape, and in the interior, spaces are segregated by pilasters which form a series of “capillitas” (small chapels) or lobes, with small niches or altars set into the walls. The central pillar measures almost 4 metres, is set into a groove in the rock and secured by wedges. The access portal with threshold has a concave façade.

Also of note are the remains of hearths to the east of the area. Abundant bones from small kids and lambs were found there, undoubtedly part of rituals held.

The site also yielded the figure of a small bronze bull that is currently exhibited in the Museum of Minorca. It was found during excavation under the small altar in the lower part of the taula. Other finds were bronze legs belonging to the figure of a horse, and a terracotta cauldron representing the Carthaginian goddess Tanit.

The chronology of this sanctuary has still not been resolved, although it is known that it was still in use in the fourth century B.C. What has been documented with total certainty is its continuity of use until the end of the second century A.D., based on C-14 datings and the Roman pottery found.

- Hypostyle hall:

Half underground and covered with slabs held up by columns and pilasters, and by a tumulus of small stones and earth. Its excavation has revealed that it was used as a store from the first century to the second century A.D.

- Remains of a cyclopean wall around the site.

- Silos or cisterns excavated into the solid rock to store water.

- Necropolis of the settlement, formed by artificial caves around the archaeological area.

- Hypogeum with ramped corridor and worked portal, two chambers and a modern wall.

- Adapted natural cave with its portal missing. Some niches are excavated at floor level.

- Cave of the five portals:?located outside the site, it was made by linking two originally separate hypogeums: the southern hypogeum has a quadrangular floor plan with two columns and a pilaster. Its floor is divided into different levels, with the deepest in the interior. It has a hole in the roof covered with mares stone. It has two quadrangular portals, one with three recesses, and both with a lower threshold.

The other hypogeum is circular, with a square-sectioned central column and a small niche at floor level, behind the column. Its portal is built with a recess and it has a square window on each side that have been modified and also converted into portals.

Inside the Torralba settlement other architectural remains have been documented that belong to a building of an indeterminate era, perhaps a mediaeval chapel. Other documented finds include remains of talayotic houses, covered by vegetation, mounds of stone and sediment.

Classification:
Talayotic settlement.

Municipality:
Alaior.

Chronological period:
Early Bronze Age - Middle Bronze Age - Talayotic (Iron Age) - Roman Conquest - Mediaeval Islamic.

Objects found:
- Remains of carbonised cereals in the pre-Talayotic hut.
- Pre-Talayotic, Talayotic, Carthaginian, Ibizan, Roman, Iberian pottery.

Constructions:
- Hypostyle hall.
- Talayot.
?- System for collecting water.
- Cave.
?- Taula enclosure.
- Wall.
- Hypogeums.
- Silos.?
- Houses.

 
Archaeological interventions

Between 1975 and 1985 the taula enclosure, the hypostyle hall, the possible talayot and other sectors of the settlement were excavated.

 
Legal protections

BIC no. of the Island Council of Minorca: 000157.?
BIC no. of the Balearic Islands Government: 7002-2-2-51-001624-0.?
BIC no. of the Ministry of Culture: R-I-51-0003227-00000.? Decree no. 2563/1966, of 10 September: 1597.?

 
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CASTRO MARTINEZ, P.V. et alii. Radiocarbon Dating and the Prehistory of the Balearic Islands. The Prehistoric Society. PPS 63 .1997.
CHAMBERLAIN, F. The Balearics and their peoples. John LaneThe Bodley Head. LTD. 1927.
FERNÁNDEZ-MIRANDA, M.; BUENO, P.; PIÑÓN, E.; RODERO, A. La sala hipóstila Torralba d'En Salord (Alayor, Menorca). Ministerio de Cultura. NAH 10. 1980.
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Practical information

Access:
Access by the Alaior to Cala en Porter road. The settlement is at kilometre 3, to the right of the way.
Road signs to site.?
Open to the general public.?

Parking:
Yes.
Large parking site, accommodating both cars and coaches.

Visits:
Opening times

April, May and October: from 10 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm (Mondays closed)
June - September: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday from 10am to 1pm
November - December: from 10 am to 2 pm (Mondays closed)
January: Sundays from 10 am to 1 pm
February and March: request information

Ticket Prices

General - 4 euros
Retired (+65 years) - 3 euros
Handicapped - 2 euros
Children between 4 and 12 - 2 euros
Children under 3 - free entrance

The Itinerary is signed and guides and informative material are available.

Ownership and management:
Owned by the Balearic Islands Foundation (www.fundacioillesbalears.org)
Nurarq is the company that manages the site.

Related links
Fundación Illes Balears



 

 
 
 
Consell Insular de Menorca Govern Illes Balears
MINORCA TALAYOTIC - World Heritage Nomination
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