• Carlos Vermeersch

Torre d'en Galmés

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

Main article: Prehistory and history of the Balearic Islands: Menorca

Chronology

Talaiots: 1400-1200 BC (Talaiotic I)

Houses and walls: 10th century BC (Talaiotic II) — 13th century AD (conquest by Alfonso III of Aragon)


Dimensions

Area: 66.240 m²


Torre d'en Galmés was by far the largest village of the Balearic Islands, measuring over 6.6 hectares, whereas the largest village in Majorca is only 1.7 hectares. It is situated on a hilltop that dominates most of the southern part of the island Menorca, built around three talaiots. In prehistoric times it would have been possible to observe a large number of villages from this position which leads to think that Torre d'en Galmés exercised a position of authority. On clear days, even the mountains of neighbouring Majorca can be seen.


Most of the structures seem to be located south, on the lower part of the hill. The most notable ruins are hypostyles, circular houses, and a complex Proto-talaiotic hypogaeum that was reused as a rain water collection system. However, the northern part also possesses several structures, such as city gates and wall fragments, hypogaea and some houses.


The taula


Chronology

Talaiotic III (800-450 BC) — 3rd century BC (Talaiotic IV)


Dimensions

Pillar: 2 m (current height) × 1.5-1.6 m (width) × 0.4 m (thickness)

Capital: 2.3-2.5 m (length) × 1.2-1.3 m (width) × 0.7 m (thickness)


The taula's sanctuary is pointing south and located at the foot of the third and largest talaiot of the village. The precinct is quite well preserved, although the eastern wall has collapsed to some degree. Sadly, the taula's pillar is broken since ancient times, and cannot be restored as the upper half is missing. The capital on the other hand was reused in Roman times as a sarcophagus, hence the fact that the capital's groove, in which the pillar was fixed, is deeper than normal. As usual, the sanctuary that encloses the taula is hoof-shaped and with a concave façade. Three descending steps lead to the gate, composed by two monoliths that used to support a lintel, which has gone missing during the past century. In the 1980s, an Egyptian bronze figurine of Imhotep, dated at the 7th century BC, was found in the sanctuary, with the inscription "I am Imhotep the god of medicine". Imhotep was a chancellor to the pharaoh Djoser, probable architect of the step pyramid, and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis, who was posteriorly deified and glorified. This endorses the theory the precincts were indeed sanctuaries.


House 1


This circle has a special peculiarity, it has been built up against the slope of the hill, incorporating a modified natural cave, in order to shorten the length of the outer wall. By including the cave into the house, the area is considerably larger than in most houses.


The Cartailhac circle (House 4)


Dimensions

Structure: 15.8 m (diameter)


The most outstandingly monumental circle is without a doubt the Cartailhac circle. It was very likely to have belonged to a family of a high status. It is compartmented by radial walls that converge in a central patio with a cistern. To both sides of the entrance of the house there is a small covered space, with the ceiling below the upper level of the stones of the outer wall, which seems to mean that, at least above those spaces, there was another floor. It possesses a hypostyle, a construction with a limestone slab roof held up on polylithic pillars. The megaliths are perfectly balanced on the capital stone of the column, in a way that if one were to be removed, the structure would collapse.

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Copyright © 2009-2020 Carlos Vermeersch Santana

San Cristóbal de La Laguna, S/C de Tenerife, Spain

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