Talayotic Culture of Minorca

Date of Submission: 29/01/2013
Criteria: (i)(iii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport
State, Province or Region:
Islas Baleares
Ref.: 3433
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

Introduction

The Serial Property proposed for inclusion in the tentative List of World Heritage of the Spanish State is made up of 25 archaeological sites that are represen­tative of the Talayotic Culture of Minorca (CTMe) and those that best illustrate the Prehistory and Protohis­tory of the island of Minorca. This island, that forms part of the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands, has an exceptional heritage, reflected in its 1,574 archaeological sites inventoried on its 700m2 of surface area. There are places of very different mo­numental category that include a wide chronological range that embraces the arrival of man on the island to the Medieval Islamic era. Of these places, 1,401 hold the protection category as Assets of Cultural Interest the maximum juridical protection of heritage legislation in the Spanish state.

The selection made brings together the examples that best illustrate Minorcan Talayotic Culture as it is made up of the representation of different building ty­pes and the best monumental quality. They have also been chosen for being the most scientifically resear­ched and for having brought knowledge of this culture in its different manifestations: from the socioeconomic aspects to the funeral and festive rituals.

The denomination of "Talayotic" is related to one of the most typical elements of this culture, namely buil­dings in the form of a tower and known by the island's inhabitants as "TALAYOT". From the 19th century to today, scientific bibliography has used this designation as a generic title for a wide area of insular prehistory. This does not exclude, as will be seen in the next sec­tion, that under the heading CTMe (Talayotic Culture of Minorca) different phases or historical periods are presented.

The geological composition of Minorca is different to that of its neighbours in the Balearic archipelago. The north of the island has older components that belong to the Primary and Secondary eras, that is, the Paleozic, the Triassic, the Jurassic and the Creta­ceous periods. It is characterized by an undulating relief with small mounds and valleys of reddish and ochre soil. The south, Terciary, is an extensive calca­reous platform of the Miocene period, with a flat relief and good quality soil where forage is cultivated. This platform is criss-crossed by gullies, between which walls circulate spring water. In these places one finds orchards and kitchen gardens where a variety of fruit and vegetables are grown.

It is in this part of the island where the prehistoric ar­chaeological sites are located and evidently the majo­rity of the 25 sites that make up the Serial Property. It was not by chance that the special characteristic and texture of its rocks made possible the extraction of large blocks that were used in the island's prehistoric constructions. In fact the use and exploitation of this calcareous rock has marked the insular landscape, generating special types of ecosystems that were built using this rock throughout history. The archaeological sites chosen for this candidature form an essential part of this tradition that, in the modern era, manifests itself above all in country houses and in buildings des­tined for the exploitation of cattle and sheep livestock, together with the grid of dry-stone walls . These walls present an enormous maze, thanks to the thousands of kilometers of these dry-stone walls that have shaped the island. The continuous use of many of the prehistoric buildings, with the same function during an important part of the Roman period or later, with uses related to livestock, together with their monumentali­ty, have all meant that today these buildings are in a magnificent state of conservation, granting them an Exceptional Universal Value.

Identification and Limits

Each of the sites has its own protection environment by virtue of their protection category as assets of cul­tural interest. A “buffer zone” is proposed that takes in the 25 sites of this serial property to be declared. Together with this, it should be specified that the rest of the insular territory is already protected by various legal rules, amongst which that stand out are the Insular Territorial PIan (PTI) and the urban planning of the eight island municipalities (P.G.O.U or subsidiary regulations). These all contain specific protection regulations for archaeological heritage. It should be pointed out too that Minorca was declared a Biosphe­re Reserve by UNESCO in 1993.

The Serial Property listed, firstly in chronological order and secondly according to their geographic proximity, are the following:

1.Tomb of Ses Roques Llises and the enclosure of Sa Comerma de se Garita

The tomb is a construction with a central chamber de­limited by some large orthostats. Access is indicated by an "oradada" stone in its centre. The Sa Comerma enclosure is a monumental building with a patio in front of its façade. It is made up of numerous "Me­diterranean" type columns that supported the stone slab roof. Three access doors with lintels have been identified.

2. Naviform settlement of Son Mercer de Baix                                                                                                                         

A settlement made up of a series of dwelling buil­dings known also as "dwelling navetas" because of their floor plan shape. One stands out because of the conservation of its roof, supported by polylythical columns.

3. Hypogeum of Torre del Ram

A funereal hypogeum of an extended ground plan excavated in the rock. Within the interior there are continuous Stone benches around the walls and an access corridor.

4. Necropolis and Coastal Establishment of Cala Morell

A necropolis of artificial caves cut into the cliff walls. One stands out for its façade decorated with classic architectural motifs. On the upper part of the sea cliff there is a settlement of Naviforms, identified as a Coastal Establishment.

5. Navetas of Biniac-l'Argentina

Two funereal buildings of a circular ground plan. These types of buildings were always located away from the settlements. A large number of dead from the community were buried there, together with their belongings.

6. Naveta of Es Tudons

A funereal building with an extended ground plan in the shape of an upturned boat, with two interior cham­bers that are accessed via a small door and a narrow corridor.

07. Navetas of Rafal Rubi                                                                                                         

Two funeral buildings of an extended ground plan in the shape of upturned boats. They are situated at only 65m. apart, similar to those of Es Tudons.

8. Cave of s'Aigua

A prehistoric cave with an interior lake in which archaeological material has been found, such as cera­mics and human remains.

9. Necropolis of Calescoves

This is the most extensive on the island. It is made up of a large quantity of natural caves and funeral hypogeums of different morphologies, all excavated in the walls of the cliffs that make up his cove. It was a necropolis from the 9th century B.C. to the 3rd century B.C. In this same enclosure, a sanctuary was identified that was in use from the 3rd century B.C. Also identified was a coastal establishment made up of walls that close off the promontory. This gave access to the cove, forming a quadrangular enclosure in which interior one finds a well with access steps. This small natural harbor of Calescoves was used for anchorage from the 5th century B.C.

10. Hypostyle Hall of Galliner de Madona

An enclosure covered by five polylythical columns whose function must be associated with storage use.

11. Talayot of Trebalύger

One of the larger talayots of the island. It has an ellip­tical ground plan, built on and taking advantage of the height of a rocky promontory.

12. Talayots of Binicodrell

Two talayots, one with a ramp that gives access to a platform that is to be found in the upper part of the talayot.

13. Settlement of Torralba d'en Salort and the Well of Na Patarrá

A talayotic settlement that has an outstanding mo­numental talayot as well as a Taula Enclosure with a central pilaster. This is the most monumental "Taula" of the island. Close to the enclosure and within the settlement itself there is a spectacular well known as Na Patarrá. This has a depth of 47 metres and has stairs that reach the aquifer.

14. Settlement of CorniaNou

A talayotic settlement in which a monumental talayot stands out with steps that give access to a platform located at the Crown of this tower and to a collection of semi-detached romos. At some 150 metres from the former, another talayotic type building has been identified. This is really the access point of the sett­lement. There is a reinforced door that makes up a spectacular passageway in the interior.

15. Settlement and Naveta of sa Torreta de Tramun­tana

This is a settlement made up of a Talayot, houses known as dwelling circles and a taula enclosure. It is one of the few settlements in the northern part of the island in which peaty soil predominates as opposed to calcareous stone. Close to the settlement there is a Naveta, a funeral building, of which only the floor remains.

16. Settlement of Talatí de Dalt

A Talayotic settlement with different structures, such as a monumental Talayot and a Taula Enclosure with an inclined column that is supported on the capital of the central piece. Outstanding is the entrance door to the settlement that is in a part of the face of the walls that can be seen. One can also see the series of hypostyle halls and covered enclosures. Parts of them were excavated and form an almost labyrinthine building complex.

17. Settlement of Torelló

A settlement in which a large Talayot stands out, on whose upper platform is conserved an entrance with lintels and a corridor. Just a few metres from this Talayot is another smaller one. Parts of the settle­ments houses were excavated decades ago. They are typical in structure with a central patio and rooms around it, forming an almost circular building.

 18. Settlement of Trepucó

A large Talayotic settlement that houses two Tala­yots, the smaller of which has a covered chamber in the form of a false dome made roughly by courses. Various dwellings have been investigated, all of them circular. Its spectacular Taula Enclosure stands out, as well as the series of buildings that are close to it.

19. Settlement of Torre d'en Galmés

A large settlement that exceeds 6 hectares, made up of three Talayots located in the central part of the settlement, on the highest point with a great visual command over the coast, a Taula Enclosure and plen­ty of dwellings with a circular ground plan, all of which are notably large. They have a central patio, storage silos, covered enclosures (also known as Hypostyle Halls) attached to them and, in certain cases, such as the dwelling known as "Circulo Cartailhac", they have a large open-air area in front of their façades. Here an oven has been indentified, as well as other areas of handicraft activity. In the southern part of the settle­ment and at a lower height than that of the central part, a sophisticated water-collection system has been identified, with decanting pans and cisterns excavated into the rock-like wells.

20. Sanctuary of So na Caçana

A settlement made up of 10 buildings that include Ta­layots and Taula Enclosures. Three of the latter have been identified and this confers on the archaeological site the status of more than a mere settlement-rather, it is a sacred place, a sanctuary.

21. Settlement of Montefí

A Talayotic settlement with three Talayots, under­ground burial caves and an area of silos, stores and channels.

22. Settlement of Son Catlar

A large Talayotic settlement that has outstanding mo­numental walls whose perimeter reaches 900 metres in length. Above the walls sentry boxes and square towers have been identified that are semi-detached to the walls. Its Taula Enclosure, Talayots and Dwellings etc., have all been conserved.

23. Settlement of Torretrencada

A Talayotic Settlement that stands out for having wi­thin its Taula Enclosure, a Taula with a pilaster leaning on its rear part.

24. Settlement of Torrellafuda

A Talayotic Settlement with a large Talayot, a Taula Enclosure with a monumental central piece and with other such pieces within the same enclosure. Part of the face of the walls are identified and its natural surroundings are especially outstanding.

25. Settlement of Binisafullet

A Talayotic Settlement in which one can see a Talayot and a small Taula Enclosure as well as other dwelling buildings.

Description of the property

The Prehistory of Minorca includes a long chronological period that starts with the arrival of man and ends with the Roman conquest that occurred in 123 B.C. The discovery of the Lithic industry of Binimel. Ià signals a pre-neolithic occupation up to 6000 B.C.. However, scientific data that corroborate the presence of permanent human communities, must be situated between 2500 and 2100 B.C., thanks to radiocarbon dating carried out on the remains from the tombs of Biniai Nou. These were communities between the Chalcolithic and the Initial Bronze, who established themselves in the main ecological niches and the most fertile areas of the island.

This Serial Property, representative of the CTMe, is made up of 25 archaeological sites. These were chosen for a series of reasons, such as their good state of conservation and the carrying out of archaeological research on them, etc. The main reason they were chosen though is because amongst all of the buildings chosen, each one of the architectural elements typical and serialized of the Talayotic Culture were represented, including the precedents.

It should also be highlighted that the idiosyncrasy of each one of them makes them a Serial Property of Outstanding Universal Value. Their characteristics, both in the construction technique used, the cyclopean in dry-stone, without mortar and the resulting form of each one of the Real Estate Assets, give them this characteristic of being megaliths of great Singularity and Uniqueness within World Heritage. There are some assets that appear similar to those of Minorca, such as the Majorcan talayots, the towers of Corsica or the Nuraghes of Sardinia, as will be dealt with later. Nevertheless, it is important to point out that their surroundings, as well as the events that have taken place throughout history and what they have all experienced, all mean that they have their own singularity and this makes them unique compared with other assets that may have a certain similarity, both structural and chronological. Scientific research on the Talayotic Cuture of Minorca and its precedents, carried out especially in the last decades, allows one today to present a typological list of its real estate assets. Individually, the following elements have been identified for their form and functional nature:

Megalithic Tombs or Dolmens: Constructions made up of a chamber and covered corridor. They have a perforated slab that gives Access to the chamber.

Naviforms or Dwelling Navetas: A dwelling building with an absidal ground plan, also known as an upturned boat because of its shape. It has cyclopean walls normally covered with a wooden, stone and earth structure and rarely with stone slabs on columns. They formed small settlements.

Hypogeums of extended ground plan: Artificial caves excavated from the subsoil. Their function was for funerals and they have an access corridor, a chamber and a bench around them.

Hypogeum of a circular or oval ground plan: A funeral monument, small and with only one chamber, with Access in some cases at a great height from the ground.

Tombs of triple faces or Protonavetas: Funeral constructions with an extended ground plan and an inner chamber.

Natural Caves with Cyclopean Walls at the entrance: Natural caves with a corridor and a façade of a megalithic character. Their function was for funerals.

Navetas: Funeral buildings of a collective character, exclusive to Minorca. The earlier ones had a circular ground plan and the latter ones, an extended ground plan with the shape of an upturned boat. The name is a diminutive of the Catalan word "nau" (ship/boat) and was adopted by the first researchers in the 19th century.

Talayots: A truncated cone tower built with a dry cyclopean technique. They were located at the highest points in settlements. They present a rich typology. The name ''talaiot" is an augmentative of the Catalan Word "talaia" (atalaya-watchtower). Its shape and especially its building technique differentiate it from other types of towers identified in other Mediterranean cultures.

Settlements: Talayotic settlements formed a certain urban plan. They are integrated by various dwelling, defensive, artisanal and religious structures that characterize the Talayotic Culture. See Talayots, Dwelling Circles, Hypostyle Halls, elements for water-collection, silos, taula enclosures and walls.

Taula Enclosures: A Sanctuary with a horseshoe ground plan with a column in the shape of a "T" in the central part of the building. This is exclusive to Minorca. Of a large size and built with great skill with two large stone blocks. These Sanctuaries were normally situated very close to a Talayot. Their name derives from the Catalan word "taula" (table) as it was popularly known because of its association with the image of a giant table.

Dwellings: Dwelling circles or domestic units. They follow a space structure, with a central patio that has a series of surrounding rooms. There is also a living area and silos. In many of them we can see the chronological evolution embodied in the spaces.

Covered Space or Hypostyle Hall: A building with a tendency for an extended ground plan and polylythical columns that supported the roof of large slabs of stone. According to some archaeological research carried out, its use may have been for storage.

Wells: Very spectacular wells that can reach depths of 50 meters. They have zigzag steps strewn out of the natural rock with the aim of reaching the aquifer or source and then collecting water.

Walls: A free-standing wall, on occasions attached to the pe­ rimeter dwellings or to the Talayots that surround the settlement. Their function was to delimit and organize the territory. In some cases they were reinforced by towers.

Hypogeums: Artificial funeral caves of different morphologies. Some of them have compartmentalized spaces with façades decorated with architectural motifs. They form authentic tombs in the walls of gullies and cliffs that look out to sea.

The first witnesses to permanent human presence in Minorca were confirmed in the Dolmens also known as Megalithic Tombs. These were spaces in which different members of the communities were buried in a collective manner. This type of tomb is concentrated above all in the south-eastern part of the island, although it is not to be ruled out that they can be found in the rest of the island. The most outstanding is that of Roques Llises (01).

The domestic structures documented are dated from about 1750 B.C., already in the Final Bronze period and are known by the name of Naviform as well as Dwelling Navetas. These are buldings of an extended ground plan, in the form of a horseshoe, built of large cyclopean stones, in whose interior all the activity for processing and handling food were carried out as well as the making  of Instruments of bone and metal. There are isolated ones but also some grouped in what would be small farms.In some cases they occupy coastal promontories such as that of Cala Morell (04), as well as the tops of hills and mountains. Some are spectacular in their finish, such as that of Son Mercer de Baix (02), with its roof still intact, its maximum exponent. Other examples of these habitats arethe archaeological sites, of Cala Blanca and Clariana. In this period, the ritual visits to caves such as Cova de s'Aigua (08) were known. Within its interior lake, material objects were found next to human remains.

Apart from dolmens, Hypogeums of Extended Ground Plan were used as tombs. These were of large proportion and totally excavated in the rocky subsoil. Some examples of these hypogeums can be found at Torre del Ram (03) and Son Mercer de Dalt. Between 1600 B.C. and 1300 B.C., the so called Triple Parament or Protonaveta Tombs were built, such as those of Son Olivaret and ses Arenes de Baix, characterized by having elements already characteristic of the first navetas insofar as their funeral chamber.

Around 1400 B.C., a clear cultural change took place in Minorca, documented by, above all, funeral rituals and in ceramic technology. Although naviforms continued to be built, funeral rituals took place in Natural Caves on whose entrance were built a Large Cyclopean Wall in order to protect the interior. The best case and most paradigmatic of Balearic prehistory is that of the "Cava des Càrritx", a natural cave of 170 meters in length that was discovered in 1995 with all its archaeological content in a perfect state of conservation, to the point where it was possible to document objects and materials-leather, wood, human hair, etc. that in normal conditions would not have lasted so long. Bodies were placed in the main hall of the cave, covered in a type of cloth shroud, together with some personal objects and offerings that were to accompany the dead to the other world. In a room located at about 80 metres from the entrance, a small store of exceptional objects was found: ceramic vessels, wooden bowls of boxwood, spatulas, a comb in the shape of a bat and some small tubes, some of bovine horn and others of wood that contained locks of human hair. This discovery allowed for the reconstruction of one of the most interesting rituals of Balearic prehistory, such as the cut of hair of some of the people buried in the main hall and those who previously had their hair dyed red. This action signals to us the importance and the respect given to hair and the head, the special significance of which is emphasized by the laying of up to five rows of skulls in an area of the cave. The discovery of the "Cova des Mussol" is also outstanding. This is a cave located in a sea-cliff in which interior wooden anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines of great interest were found that document rituals related probably to animal and human fertility. It should be pointed out that these natural caves are not included in the candidature because their greatest value is in the assets recuperated during archaeological research. They are now preserved in the Municipal Museum of Ciutadalla, away from their point of origin.

Another of the emblematic monuments of insular prehistory, exclusive to Minorca, are still today in full use. We refer to the Navetas. These are large funeral constructions, with an absidal or circular ground plan and have only one chamber-though it can be divided into two floors-, an access corridor and a perforated flagstone. They can contain up to one hundred buried individuals, such as the one in es Tudons (06), an emblematic monument of Minorcan prehistory. The use of some funeral navetas has been documented around1400 B.C., such as the circular ground plan of Biniac-la Argentina (05); however, the majority of dating puts their intensive use around the 9th century B.C. Those of Rafal Rubí (07), that are very close to one another, constitute a notable example of those that have an absidal ground plan.

The identifying elements of the CTMe, that gave its name to the same, are towers that have been known as talayots in the rural world for centuries. It is very probable that the first ones started to be built around1000 B.C. They are truncated cone towers built from large dry stones and they form an insoluble part of the Minorcan landscape as landmarks. These buildings were at their peak between 900 and 700 B.C., already in the Iron Age, and they present a notable architectural and probably functional diversity. From them, the control of the surrounding territory was absolute and, very probably, this was their main function apart from being a reference to the social cohesion of the community that lived around them. It can be observed that by means of this cyclopean architecture with a strong territorial impact, a planning was generated of a conceptually closed landscape that was controlled and architecturally semantic. This landscape is made up of large settlements surrounded by smaller ones, always connected visually and linked to the orography, the location of sources of water as well as the physical environment that makes up the gullies. Talayotic Culture developed initially with a strongly cohesive society that developed communal strategies for the management and control of resources as a strategy for ever increasing demands over the limited insular resources.

Amongst the most significant collections of talayotic cyclopean architecture, we can mention Torre d'en Galmes (19), Talatf de Dalt (16), Cornia Nou (14), Monteff (21) and Trepuc6 (1B). Within the typological variety, what stands out for their monumental charac­ ter are the sections with an upper floor such as those of Torell6 (17) that conserves a door with a lintel. The access to this floor could be by any type of exterior steps that could be removed easily (sometimes woo­ den steps). That of TrebaiCiger (11) was built upon a previously existing naviform that was on a rocky pro­ montory and that was not very high. The ground plan was adapted. Of the few that can be entered from the ground, such as that of San Agustf, that of Torre Vella d'en Lozano or the small one of Trepuc6 (1B), they present a space that has been achieved on the basis of the approximation of courses in order to be able to close it by a false vault or even a wooden support structure. Others present a ramp that gives access to the upper part, such as those of Binicodrell (12) and Sa Torreta de Tramuntana (15).

Burials continued to be carried out in the same constructions of the Final Bronze Age practically until 800 to 700 B.C. It would be from the start of 1000 B.C. when excavations were started into the cliffs of coves and gullies such as those of Calascoves (9). This indicates that something was changing in the commu­nities of that time. The oldest type is the Hypogeum of Circular or Oval Ground Plan, that had a single chamber and was small in size (between 3 and 20m2). It had an entrance door located at a certain height and in some cases at various meters from the ground, with access possible only by means of steps or ropes. Although it is a widespread tomb in the island, we do not have sufficient data to allow us to know the funeral rites. We can only establish a comparison with the Cova des Pas, a natural cave that shares the size, the chronology and the access difficulties with the hypogeums. ln this tomb,70 individuals were identified in its interior and no preferential location was given to any of the bodies. The bodies appear bent, simulating the foetal position and shrouded with ox and cow skins. Next to them appeared the stretchers that were used to transport the corpses to the funeral chamber. They were buried between 1200 and 8OO B.C. together with simple personal possessions that did not include ceramic vases but branches of bushes and wild flowers and a few bronze objects and tin beads.

Talayotic Settlements were made up of, apart from talayots, walls, dwellings, water-collection areas, a series of covered spaces for shelter or storage and sanctuaries. A selection of the most representative of the CTMe have been chosen, such as Torre d'en Galmes (19), with a current extension of 66,240m2, Trepuc6 (1B), with a current extension of 49,240m2, Monteff (21), with 43,190m2, Son Catlar (22), with an extension of 42,200m2 within the interior of the walls and Talatf de Dalt {16) with 44,615m2. Of the total documented, those of Torre d'en Galmes and Son Catlar are the most representative, the first with a surface area of 6 hectares and containing dwellings like the Cartallhac Circle, Hypostyle Halls, a Taula Sanctuary, talayots, caves, water-collection areas, etc. The second has less visible components but it is surrounded by splendid walls.

If the Talayot is the element that gives the denomination to this culture, one of the most singular pieces of the talayotic world are its sanctuaries. Here we are referring to the Taula Enclosures, some buildings with a horseshoe ground plan whose façade is normally orientated towards the south, slightly concave in shape, with the entrance in the central part of same. It tends to have a pre-eminent situation within the settlement, close to the talayot, and is distinguished by its central piece, that gives its name “Taula”, made up of a pillar or column of a rectangular shape fitted into the soil, and crowned with a horizontal piece in the form of a capital, making up a monumental “T”. These enclosures are unique and exclusive to the island of Minorca and there are no exact formal parallels in any other place in the world. According to archaeological discoveries made in some of the enclosures such as that of Torralba d'en Salort (13) and Binissafullet (25), rituals were practiced, celebrating the sacrifice of different domestic animals, libations with wine, etc., known as comensual rituals. The presence of fire as a ritual and symbolic element is constant in these monuments as well as offerings of precious goods such as bronze sculptures: the figure of the god lmhotep in the enclosure of Torre d'en Galmes (19) and the figure of a bull in Torralba d'en Salort (13), or other figures such as, for example, the nude warriors in attack mode, a type of sculpture of some 30cms. high, typical of Talayotic Culture. An exceptional case is made up of the archaeological site of So na Cac;ana (20) where different Taula Enclosures are grouped around a large solid monument which probable inner chamber is today inaccessible. All the enclosures follow a similar construction pattern although they present details that make them exclusive, like the double "T" in the enclosure of Torretrencada (23) or the monumental side pilaster in the enclosure of Torrellafuda (24).

Post-talayotic Minorcan houses have the characteristic of being circular in shape and they present an architecture that evolves in comparison to the contemporary surroundings. A central patio, in which a silo can be placed, is the nucleus of the dwelling and around it are distributed the rooms or cubicles that had a variety of uses. In nearly all settlements these structures can be found but the best examples are to be found in Torre d'en Galmes (19) and in Sant Vicenç d'Acaidus. Within the boundaries, the families were housed and they carried out their daily domestic activities (cooking, weaving, cheese making, milling, etc.), in an area of 75 to 79m2. The most monumental to date is the one known by the name Ciraulo Cartailhac in the settlement of Torre d'en Galmes, that contains all of the typological characteristics: central patio, rooms with closing doors, dwelling, larder. All these built with the largest size stone elements of the settlement. No ruins remain of possible stone roofs in any of them as the roofs must have been built from trunks of wood, earth and small stones. The same does not occur to the building attached to the dwellings, on one of its sides and known by the name Hypostyle Hall or Covered Space as it has precisely a roof made up of large stone slabs that are interlaced between each other and supported by Mediterranean type columns. They were narrower at their base and were wider in their upper part. Their function was as a storeroom. Buildings of this type also exist isolated, away from the settlements, such as that of Galliner de Madona (10).

An isolated building in the countryside is also Sa Comerma de sa Garita (01). It is spectacular and very singular. It is made up of a building with a similar ground plan to taula enclosures, but its façade has lintels with five doors (three are still standing today). The roof would have been made by stone beams supported on Mediterranean type columns. The complex is closed by an uncovered patio enclosed by a stone wall and a door with a lintel. Water was essential for life: wells played an important role and so did places in which to store water. The system of water collection that can be seen in the settlement of Lyre d'en Galmes (19) is exceptional. Connected to settlements or coastal enclosures, we find Wells of great depths and with zigzag stairs for descending to the bottom. Out of all the wells, the most outstanding is that of Na Patarra, associated with the settlement of Torralba d'en Salon (13), with its depth of more than 50 meters.

The talayotic settlements can have Walls, though in few cases does the wall surround the whole perimeter of the settlement. The most outstanding example is that of Son Catk (22), that stretches for 900 meters and built of enormous orthostats, of which some have a size that exceeds three meters. To these walls, ex­terior towers were added and impressive sentry boxes were built into the walls themselves.

The human talayotic communities who built the taula sanctuaries, demonstrate to us an enormous level of organization and have their best exponent in the orga­nization of their necropolises once the funeral navetas fell into disuse. Natural caves were used but Hypo­geum were also created and excavated. These were tombs artificially excavated in the rock. They formed large necropolises in the limestone rock. Complexes of almost 100 tombs were created, such as that of Ca‑lascoves (09), and complexes of a great architectural beauty were created, such as that of Cala Morell (04). Social differences, starting from the 4th century B.C., were more evident in these tombs. In those times, two funeral rituals were practiced: burials in wooden coffins and burial in lime. The first system consisted in placing the deceased in the inside of a previously hollowed out tree trunk or on a stretcher intertwined by means of a system of pins and wooden rivets. This was the system documented for the necropolis of alescoves. Secondly there were burials in lime that consisted in pouring live lime over the remains of the deceased in order for decomposition of the remains and the household objects that accompanied him/her to take place. This funeral practice was widely and most used from the 4th century B.C.

At this period, Minorca fully entered the field of trade influence firstly of the Punics of Ibiza and Carthage and finally of the Romans. The trade influence of the Carthaginian merchants was noted, above all, in the crockery that is imported greatly from this island. From the confrontations between the Carthaginians and the Greeks over the island of Sicily, one knows of the presence of talayotics who formed part of the light infantry of the Carthaginian troops. Literary sources confirm this from the 5th century B.C. and their ability in using the sling for launching projectiles was well known. Their presence in the Punic Wars that took place firstly in the middle of the 3rd century B.C. and secondly at the end of the 3rd century B.C. is confir­med in written sources. In these sources, the pre-monetary character of the indigenous society of Minorca is explained, as apparently the pay the slingshot users received for participating as mercenaries for the Carthaginian armies was used exclusively for wine and women, goods that for the ideas of the time were very valuable for the society of the island. Wine was a rare commodity, very much appreciated for its exoti­cism, so much so that it was used in the main rituals that took place in the interiors of the sanctuaries of the taulas. Women, both during prehistory and during the classic ancient world of the western Mediterra­nean, formed a very important economic asset in the productive labour of domestic tasks. Their activities as mercenary slingshots lasted until the Roman period. Indeed, Caesar mentions them in his famous book, the War of the Gauls as having this function.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The Minorcan Talayotic Culture makes up an ar­chaeological group that has an authenticity and ex­ceptional value. It also possesses a civilization value, to which one must add that it is the unique testament of a past civilization, present on the island of Minorca and in its landscape for 4,000 years. There is a density and state of conservation of its monuments that must be catalogued as unusual.

Given their solidity, many of them have not only sur­vived but have continued to be used throughout the centuries and up to today. This fact of being able to be user at any time is what has allowed their magnificent state of conservation today.

Indeed, their value has been confirmed since the 18th century. Although other publications can be quoted, the book by John Armstrong, "The History of the Island of Minorca" of 1752 should be pointed out. There are multiple later editions in which an extensive study on the Prehistory of Minorca is incorporated. This work gives an important impulse to Prehistoric Minorcan archaeology on an international level. In­deed, for decades, if not for centuries, reference was made to this historic period of the Balearics, both in Europe and in America. What was quoted was the Ta­layotic Culture of Minorca. Special attention should be given to the book by Juan Ramis y Ramis, published in 1818, entitled "Antiguedades Colticas de Menorca". This was the first monograph published in Spain that was totally dedicated to the subject of archaeology. Since this time, bibliographies on the Talayotic Culture of Minorca has been a constant, both on a national and international level. Amongst these, the following are outstanding: the work of E.Cartailhac (1892), F. Hernandez Sanz (1908), F. Chamberlain (1927), M.Murray (1932 and 1938), J. Martinez Santa-Olalla (1935). All these can be appreciated in the succinct bibliographies that accompany this document. The assets belonging to the CTMe have a value that make them different to others in the world because they are representative of a unique Prehistoric Culture whose most characteristic monuments, such as the Navetas (comunal burial sites) and the Taula Enclo­sures (Sanctuaries with a central piece of two large stone slabs forming an enormous "T"), are exclusive to Minorca and not found anywhere else.

In short, the Talayotic Culture of Minorca brings toge­ther certain values that make it deserving for consi­deration as Outstanding Universal Value, both for the singularity, originality and exclusivity of its assets- or rather inheritance -, with its state of conservation, the scientific knowledge, the cyclopean technique used in the building of its monuments and the chronological framework in which it has developed. To all this, one must add the high density of assets, about two per km2, as well as the particular integration of its buil­dings within the insular landscape. All this is testimony to human ingenuity and is the reflection of an insular Mediterranean prehistoric society.

Criteria (I): The elements that make up the serial property of the CTMe represent a Masterpiece of human creati­ve genius by shaping an inseperable phenomenom between the development of unique constructive solutions and a symbolic use of architecture as the shaper of landscapes and social areas. In this regard, amongst other elements, one must evaluate and bear in mind certain aspects and we shall highlight the following:

The construction technique used.

As is well known, the architectural techniques used by Talayotic communities was the cyclopean techni­que. This implies that prehistoric Talayotic Minorcan communities developed a whole series of specific and unique work and organizational solution protocols. All research done in these recent years coincide with the idea that one is dealing with monumental cons­tructions related in all cases with the management of communal aspects of Talayotic societies. Under no circumstances there is any evidence of social hierar­chical structuring. There is evidence of the manage­ment of communal efforts for the generation of com­munal social spaces. In this sense, the monumental architecture that is the object of the Serial Property presented, requires a strong organizational work effort in every phase of the execution:

-the obtaining of raw materials, that is, the extrac­tion of large cyclopean blocks of calcareous stone that at times can exceed 3 metres in length and can weigh 1 ton.

-the development of a whole transport system for said blocks

-and the building process that involved fitting together each one of these blocks in order to shape the different architectural types.

This fitting together of blocks was not only a cha­llenge in itself-it was especially complex bearing in mind the height some of these monuments reached, especially the Navetas, the Talayots and the elevation of the calcareous blocks that shape the central piece of the Taula enclosures of the Minorcan Sanctuaries. All in all, exceptional communal work whose practice helped the social cohesion of the group. They are the reflection of a collective work produced by the whole of society.

The social significance of this architecture.

The communal and monumental character of this ar­chitecture presents an enormous associated symbolic load. In reality, by means of this cyclopean architectu­re, Talayotic communities achieved two objectives:

-The first of these implied the architectural semantics of the space. The territory of the Talayotic communi­ties was converted into a landscape characterized by architectural boundary posts that were used, amongst other things, to delimit territories, to develop visual control networks and, in short, to clearly fix in the spa­ce the presence of each community by means of the architecture that this generates.

-Secondly, the architectural practices of these com­munities were converted into an enormously struc­turing element, as, by means of these practices and the communal effort of their construction, as well as their communal social use, these communities were socially cohesive. They generated societies that joined together by means of communal management.

This is very different to some other societies that also generated monumental constructions but that are the symbols of hierarchical structure and social stratifica­tion. In short, both in use and significance, we consider that the assets presented constitute a unique example and an exceptionally well preserved one of a master work of creative human genius; in this case, as a paradigmatic image of a very specific way of or­ganizing oneself as a society by means of architecture on behalf of some recent prehistoric Mediterranean communities.

Criteria (III): The exceptional nature of the serial property of the Talayotic Culture of Minorca is representative of a concrete period of time: the end of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The survival in time of its structures is  insofar as they were built in prehistory and today their original function can be appreciated. They are also singular because the morphology of the majority of the structures is unique in the world of Mediterranean prehistory. As will be seen in the sec­tion related to other assets, buildings exist from other cultures in the islands of the western Mediterranean that may appear similar to those of Minorca, however, the assets of the CTME have their special character and present unique constructions that do not exist in other cultures. Thus, they are worthy of exceptional value status. The assets presented in the CTMe list bring a unique testimony to a cultural tradition in various senses:

-The high level of conservation that they present. The majority of elements included in the list present a high level of conservation that allows for the visualiza­tion of the majority of the original elements and these are sufficient to get a fairly wide idea of the different existing archaeological typologies, as well as the main configuring characteristics. In turn, the exceptional state of conservation allows visitors the possibility of a clear view of the spaces built on with these buildings, as well as the strong sensorial loads and perceptions generated.

-An exceptional representation of all the archaeo­logical types of the Talayotic Culture. The list presen­ted includes the best examples of the different types documented, such as: Navetas, Naviforms, Talayots, Talayotic Settlements, Taula Sanctuaries, etc. Taking into account the architectural semantics that these societies made of their space and social areas, the list presented is turned into a unique example of the va­riety and diversity of what these Cyclopean Talayotic buildings were and what they meant to these Prehis­toric communities. The enormously symbolic character of these monu­ments is still maintained as today, not only are they an exceptional reflection of a Prehistoric culture, they also continue to be an enormously configuring ele­ment of the landscape of the island of Minorca.

Criteria (IV): Since the first inhabitants populated Minorca, man has left his mark on the landscape of the island with his different constructions. These can be found all over the territory and the chronological field ranges from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. In later periods, during the Roman Empire or the Islamic domination of the island, some of these prehistoric structures con­tinued to be used. In some concrete cases, their use continued into the 20th century. Furthermore, there are Mediterranean elements close to their expressions and their own singularity that are marked by a specific geology that allows for the obtaining of the basic asset for building: Stone. This made the construction possible for buildings that have lasted and that form part of the landscape of the island of Minorca from the time of their creation to the present day. The list presented allows for the configuration of a precise idea of the strong symbolic charge associated with the contents of the list. As we have commented in other sections, Talayotic society was partly configured by means of its architectural expressions that are the symbol of the cohesion of the communities, of their social spaces and, in turn, of the material visualization in the space of each one of them.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Authenticity: From the beginning of scientific research in the 18th century on the CTMe, it is clear that the monuments studied belonged to cyclopean type constructions. This lead to dating them in a chronological context of between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the 1st millen­nium B.C. The material used for construction corres­ponds to stone from the island. This stone appears in many places and was easily extracted. Such are the ones that arrived to us, that many cannot distort their authenticity.

Integrity: One must also take into account the high level of conservation of many of the prehistoric buildings. Many of the prehistoric ruins preserve an important part of their structure due to their monumen­tal nature. Inhabitants had to dedicate great efforts if they wanted to dismantle these constructions, so, if they had other fields to sow, they would leave the archaeological sites to one side and would use them as places for stabling livestock or for throwing away many of the stones that appeared during ploughing. This has resulted in many of the monuments being in a good state of conservation and the archaeological digs offering very interesting and spectacular results.

It is also worth adding that this Authenticity and Integrity of the CTMe is accompanied by a high level of Density of sites catalogued as belonging to the antecedents and the same CTMe.

Comparison with other similar properties

The archaeological sites of the Talayotic Culture of Minorca that we are presenting in this proposal for being declared as World Heritage, will be the only ones that represent an important period in our history, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, all in a fully Mediterranean field.

In Spain, archaeological sites included on the World Heritage List are those that go back to the origin of the human species (Atapuerca), to the Paleolithic (Altamira and the cave paintings in the Mediterranean range) and to the Roman era (Mérida and Tarragona). To date, no archaeological asset has been declared that belongs to the list of Prehistoric and Pre-Roman cultures of this historic period, of which the Minorcan Talayotic Culture is a prime example. Similarly in Spain, there are other contemporaneous sites from the Talayotic Culture, amongst which are the so called Iberian settlements with examples in the area of the Community of Aragon and the Iberian settlements of Matarrañia as well as those in Valencia in Campo Túria. They are also to be found in the Community of Catalonia, with the settlements of Ullastret in Gerona and Calafell in Tarragona. All these have important domestic structures though the most spectacular do not have the singularity of the cyclopean structures of Minorca.

At present, there are no assets included on the World Heritage List that can relate to the Minorcan Talayotic Culture. Its monuments fill an existing void in the de­clared list as although there do exist assets from the same era, they cannot be connected because of their notable differences. Thus, the "Prehistoric Pile dwe­llings around the Alps” embrace a long chronological period and they are very peculiar for their location on the banks of rivers and the shores of lakes, something totally different to island habitats. The cultural sites of AI-Ain in the Arab Emirates, with their circular Stone tombs and above all their adobe buildings, go back to a more ancient era and are culturally very different insofar as they developed in the desert. Also, the bu­rial mounds of Sammallahdenmäk in Finland are very different. They reflect northern European religious beliefs that are very different to Mediterranean beliefs. The Dolmen sites of Gochang, Hwasu and Ganghwa in the Republic of South Korea, with its large Stone tombs from the first millennium, form part of a megali­thic culture that extended to many parts of the world, different to the Talayotic Culture that forms part of a cyclopean tradition. The temple of Paphos in Cyprus and the Etruscan tombs of Cerveteri and Tarquinia in Italy, although being contemporaries of the Talayotic Culture, cannot be defined as being from Prehistoric cultures. They were the first urban cultures of the Mediterranean, the "Mycenic" and the "Etruscan", respectively. Some assets of the Talayotic Culture are buildings that from a formal point of view appear to have similarities to Prehistoric cultures of the islands of the Mediterranean. However, their particular chro­nological sequences, their architectural and functional characteristics as well as the socio-economic system in which they developed made them split, one from another.

Some similar assets to the CTMe can be found on the nearby island of Majorca. These are Talayots, though there are a series of differences, especially regarding the technical building solutions. These Talayots are very different to those in Minorca not only in terms of their size but also in terms of their building standards. It can be stated that the cyclopean constructions of the island of Minorca are much more monumental, rich in typology and functionality and that above all they present a very high density that shapes them as a landscape landmark of the first order. It should also be added that the way of life and burial customs of who created the assets were very different. It is for this that today one can affirm that the Prehistoric populations of each of the islands created their own monuments with their own characteristics. For example, the Talayots of Minorca whose inner chambers we know about are crowned with a false dome, something not present in Majorcan Talayots. This was always done by means of the approximation of courses. The practice of polylythic pillars in the form of an inverse cone and the exterior rings seen in many of the Minorcan buildings, together with the large blocks used both in the walls and Taula Enclosures are again, differentiating elements with the building techniques of nearby Majorca.

It is worth adding that the construction tradition in the islands of the western Mediterranean present certain architectural elements whose similarity meant that ancient archaeology would relate to monuments of one site to another, although without taking into account the diachronic, the functions, the contexts and the lack of verification of contacts.

In the Torreana Culture of Corsica, we also find towers with a similar outline and exterior to the Talayots, although they were built with a simpler and much less monumental architectural technique, such as, for example, Foca and Alo-Bisuce, neither of which has been declared as World Heritage.

The "Nuraghes", belonging to the "Nuragic" culture of Sardinia, are another type of tower that can be compared with the Talayots. Only that of Su Nuraxi de Barumini, an impressive Prehistoric fort whose construction goes back to the end of the second millennium B.C., has been declared World Heritage property. The complex architecture and the design of this "Nuraghe" make it extraordinary and very monumental and one can almost say that it is the most spectacular within the collection of the island that has other important sites such as Losa and Torralba. The Minorcan Talayots present the special feature of being all monumental and of forming a collection that extends throughout the island's territory with a very high density.

In Malta there are two sites included on the World Heritage List: the hypogeum of Hal Saflieni and the group of seven megalithic temples amongst which is Tarxien. With this island there can be a comparison with Taula Enclosures but not with Talayots. Maltese temples present similarities in the architectural treatment of their Stone elements and especially in the ground plan outline of these buildings. There is the monumentality of the central piece of these sanctuaries, with their "T" shape of Minorca that can reach a height of 4 meters. There is a time lapse that separates both constructions. The temples of Malta go back to 2,500 to 3,000 B.C., whilst archaeological research on the Minorcan taula enclosure has documented their use to not further than the 4th century B.C. The same occurs with the sanctuary of Göbekhtepe (included in the Indicative List for Turkey), though with a greater time lapse. This dates back to the Neolithic era (12,000 B.C.) and presents "T" shaped pillars.

In short, certain assets can be considered contemporary at the final phase of the Talayotic Culture, including in the indicative list of their countries, such as the monumental tombs of the city of Baja Selca (Albania) that follow an architectural style of their own classical order of the 5th and 4th centuries B.C.; and the forts (brochs) from the Iron Age of Mousa, Scatness and Jarlshof on the Shetland Islands (Scotland, Great Britain), that can be compared because of their dry-stone built towers. However, the technique of handling and the finish of the stone as well as the location of the buildings means that nobody can beat the appearance and styles of the Talayotic Culture of Minorca. In Minorca furthermore, as has been mentioned in previous paragraphs, exclusive buildings were built on a world level that were also greatly monumental, such as Navetas and the central pieces of their sanctuaries, Taulas.