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The Son Mercer de Baix settlement, inhabited between the Early Bronze Age (1400 B.C.) and the Talayotic era (1000 B.C.), is one of the best-known archaeological sites on Minorca.
It consists of several habitational chambered cairns (navetas), strategically located overlooking En Fideu ravine (Ferreries).
One of these navetas is the Es Moro cave, with an apse-shaped floor plan and with part of its roof extant, supported by three stone columns characterised by their small base, widening towards the ceiling.
The remains found among the structures in the settlement may indicate a bronze foundry or workshop, suggesting that the settlement may have specialised in working this metal.

Son Mercer de Baix naviform settlement

The Son Mercer de Baix settlement, inhabited between the Early Bronze Age (1400 B.C.) and the Talayotic era (1000 B.C.), is one of the best-known archaeological sites on Minorca.
It consists of several habitational chambered cairns (navetas), strategically located overlooking En Fideu ravine (Ferreries).
One of these navetas is the Es Moro cave, with an apse-shaped floor plan and with part of its roof extant, supported by three stone columns characterised by their small base, widening towards the ceiling.
The remains found among the structures in the settlement may indicate a bronze foundry or workshop, suggesting that the settlement may have specialised in working this metal.



 
Detailed description

Son Mercer de Baix is a settlement of naveta dwellings. Four naveta units have been identified, along with another two square-shaped spaces. It is located in a highly strategic setting on En Fideu ravine, which forms as a boundary, a source of sustenance and a channel of communication with the sea.

Naveta 1: Known as Es Moro cave, this is an elongated apse-shaped building with a very regular exterior wall of well shaped stones. Part of the roof is preserved, with horizontal slabs supported on three polylithic columns (small base stones but widening towards the ceiling) set along its length, and on its interior walls. It abuts another unexcavated unit.
Dimensions: length 17.30 m; width 7.20 m

Naveta 2: Semi-circular apse floor plan, straight walls and a bench to the left of the entrance. Oriented eastwards. Excavated in 1962 by Mª Luisa Serra.?Dimensions: length 6 m

Naveta 3: With oval floor plan, located beside Naveta 2 but with opposite orientation. At an indeterminate time, the entrance was blocked and a side entrance created.
Dimensions: length 9.80 m; width 6.30 m

Naveta 4: With elongated apsidal floor plan and concave façade, it has a small transversal wall beside the door.
Dimensions: length 18 m; width 7.60 m

The rectangular spaces referred to adjoin Naveta 4 and also have double-faced walls. During its excavation, bronze ingots, slag and several melting pots were found, indicating the presence of a small metallurgical bronze workshop.

Classification:
Habitational navetas.

Municipality:
Ferreries

Chronological period:
Middle Bronze Age (1400 B.) - Late Bronze Age (1000 B.C.).

Objects found:
- Hand mill.
- Hammer.
- Fauna.
- Remains of a bronze foundry
- Pre-Talayotic and Talayotic pottery.

Constructions:
- Habitational navetas.

 
Archaeological interventions

There have been several digs, the first in 1962, when archaeologist María Lluïsa Serra excavated Naveta 2. Navetas 3 and 4 were excavated between 1977 and 1982. In subsequent years there was prospecting in the area around the settlement. Finally in 2002 the exterior of the naveta in the Es Moro cave was excavated and the entrance column restored.

 
Legal protections

BIC no. of the Island Council of Minorca: 000805?BIC no. of the Balearic Islands Government: 7023-2-51-000027-0
BIC no. of the Ministry of Culture: R-I-51-0003487-00000?no. Decree 2563/1966, of 10 September: 1841
Declared Historic-Artistic monument by Decree of 1842 June 1931

 
Bibliography

ANGLADA GOMILA, J. 1976. Estudio de una naveta de habitación de Son Mercer de Baix. Mayurqa, 15: 271-286.

GARCÍA AMENGUAL, E. 2006. El proceso constructivo de un edificio de la edad del bronce en Menorca. El caso de Son Mercer de Baix (Ferreries, Menorca). Mayurqa, 31: 113-136.

GORNÉS, S. 2006. El poblado de Son Mercer de Baix. In AA.DD., Historia de las Islas Baleares. Tomo 16: Patrimonio histórico y artístico. Palma: El Mundo-El Dia de Baleares / Edicions de Turisme Cultural: 26-27.

PLANTALAMOR, Ll. & RITA, M.C. (1984). Formas de población durante el segundo y primer milenio bc en Menorca. Son Mercer de Baix, transición entre la cultura pretalayótica y talayótica. In WALDREN, W.H.; CHAPMAN, R.; LEWTHWAITE, J. & KENNARD, R. (eds.), The Deya Conference of Prehistory. Early Settlement in the Western Mediterranean Islands and their Peripheral Areas. Oxford: BAR International Series, 229: 797-826.

RITA, M.C. 1981. El yacimiento arqueológico de Son Mercer de Baix. Ferreries: Ajuntament de Ferreries.

RITA, M.C. 1982. Constatación de la manufactura del bronce en el yacimiento arqueológico de “Son Mercer de Baix” (Menorca). In Estudis de Prehistòria, d’història de Mayûrqa i d’història de Mallorca dedicats a G. Rosselló Bordoy. Palma: Museu de Mallorca: 41-49.

RITA, M.C. 1987. Evolución de la cultura pretalaiotica menorquina a través de los yacimientos de Morellet y Son Mercer de Baix (Menorca). In AA.DD., La Sardegna nel Mediterraneo tra il secondo e il primo millennio a. C.:  Atti del II Convegno di Studi "Un millennio di relazioni fra la Sardegna e i Paesi del Mediterraneo” (Selargius-Cagliari, 27-30 novembre 1986). Cagliari: Aministrazione provinciale: 547-555.

RITA, M.C. & MURILLO, J. 1988. Prospecció arqueològica a la zona de son Mercer (Ferraries-Menorca). Treballs del Museu de Menorca 7. Maó: Conselleria de Cultura, Educació i Esports del Govern Balear.

RITA, M.C. & PLANTALAMOR, L. 1988. The evolution of the Minorcan Pretalayotic Culture as evidenced by the sites of Morellet and Son Mercer de Baix. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 54: 241-247.

RITA, M.C.; PLANTALAMOR, L. & MURILLO, J. 1987. Guía arqueológica de Son Mercer (Ferreries). Maó: Consell Insular de Menorca.?

 
Practical information

Access:
Access by the Me-20 road from Ferreries to Es Migjorn Gran. From Ferreries, continue for 750 metres to the first right turn, onto the Son Mercer rural track. Go on for 2.5 kilometres to Son Mercer de Baix, where you must leave the car. The site is a further 1.2 kilometres on foot.
Open to the general public.?

Parking:
None

Visits:
Entry is free with uninterrupted opening hours.
Information panels on site.

Ownership and management:
Private ownership and management by the Island Council of Minorca.

 

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