Talayots, Mallorca and Menorca, Baleares Islands .

Plans (Plan and Elevation) for a Talayot (Nowadays).

Talayots are constructions made with big or middle-size stones. They are structures looking like a tower (pyramid trunk or cone), up to 9 m. high and a variable measure for diameter or side. Scholars found circular plan or square plan talayots. The former get a variant: with stairs. They keep the basic way of the plan and change the way of elevation: a series of "rings" with diminishing diameters.
The biggest talayots get one or several columns in order to support its cover or the upper floors' one. Some of them get the novelty of presenting radial rooms around the central column.
Importance and number of these remainings let us speak about a "Culture of Talayots". It makes easy the difference between them and contemporary megalithic constructions at our Peninsula. This civilization began ca. 2.100 b.C., probably formed by nomadic people from the North of Africa who used to live in caves and evolutioned in order to occupy single huts. Later, walls around villages were built with a simple construction of stones. Finally, houses made of stone with different rooms or even access between them.
Just on Menorca Island more than twelve villages with more than 250 Talayots can be found. That gives us an idea on the importance these buildings had at its age.
Scholars could not find a clear function for them. Sometimes they belong to the perimetral wall of the village and they look like a watchtower. Sometimes they had a funerary function since many burials have been found inside them. Later, researchs point out to the theory that they were a way of ostentation for local leaders. They were probably built with a military objective and then changed to more civil functions. They could also be a part of the house for the most important families from the village. Their shape can also establish their function: circular as a defensive element and rectangular as a religious or funerary.
The most important Talayots have many things in common with those of las Taulas and las Navetas since they belonged to the same villages. We can point out to:
  • At Menorca:
    • Sant Agustí Vell, Menorca. - A precious Talayot keeping its cover that is supported by three cyclopean columns.
    • Torre Nova, Menorca. - Placed in a village, it is part of a whole with four Talayots indeed. Its access is made through a corridor and central chamber with an oval plan.
    • Torrello at Mao, Menorca.- This is one of the most outstanding samples of the whole island. A window with its lintel remains at the upper floor.
    • Trebaluguer, Menorca. - With huge dimensions and an oval plan (30 x 15 ms.). It is built on a rock.
Sant Agustí Vell
Talayot from Sant Agusti Vell
Talayot from Torrello
  • At Mallorca:
    • Son Fornes, at Montuiri, Mallorca, Baleares. I. - It gets two talayots. One of them is the bigger on the island. It is 17 m. diameter and 3,5 m. high nowadays. At the moment of its construction it had two floors communicated through an inner corridor in a wall of 5 m. thick.
Talayot Son Fornés Talayot Son Fornés
Talayot Son Fornes, aerial photo and plan of the deposit.

    • Capicorp Vell, at Llucmajor, Mallorca, Baleares. I.- It is divided into three archaeological areas (Capocorb Vell, La tanca dels Talaiots y Capocorb de'n Jaqueto), with circular and square Talayots.
      Capicorp Vell
      Circular Talayot at Capicorp Vell
      Capicorp Vell
      Square plan Talayot at Capicorp Vell
    • Sa Clova d'es Xot.- It is probably the most famous circular Talayot on the island because of its preservation and monumentality: blocks of stone are 4 ms. long and 1 m. high. They fit perfectly.
    • Son Noguera.- A circular talayot of great dimensions without a central column. It was probably covered by a false dome.
    • Son Fred. - It is endowed with a curve lintel -as an arch- at the entry.
    • Hospitalet Vell.- A very important Talayot with a square plan. It is the only one for wich a part of its closing cover still remains.
Hospitalet Vel
Talayot from Hospitalet Vel
Sa Clova d'es Xot
Talayot "Sa Clova d'es Xot"
Photo by Celso González (Click here)