The Taulas of Menorca Megaliths

The Taulas of Menorca - Mysterious Megaliths of the Talaiotic People

(Read the article on one page)

Located in the Mediterranean Sea are a set of Spanish islands known as the Balearic Islands. One of those island, Menorca, is home to an impressive collection of megalithic stone monuments called the taulas.

The origin and purpose of the taulas is unknown, although they are the works of prehistoric humans. There have been several theories surrounding the mystery of the taulas, generally focused on religious or astronomical purposes. Some believe they are a religious symbol. Others believe the taulas served as a temple of healing. Finally, there is a theory that the taulas were aligned with the movements of the moon.

Taulas on Menorca. Archaeological site of the tower in Gaumés. Site also includes a circular house, thought to belong to an important figure.

Taulas on Menorca. Archaeological site of the tower in Gaumés. Site also includes a circular house, thought to belong to an important figure. Pilar Torres/ Flickr

Menorca is a small Spanish island with a population of approximately 94,000. It reaches to 1,175 feet (358 meters) above sea level at its highest point, and 37 miles (60 kilometers) across at its widest point. During prehistoric times, Menorca saw a variety of cultures and peoples, including Jews, the Vandals, the Byzantine Empire, the Crown of Aragon, Islam, Britain, and Spain.

What Menorca is most well-known for are the thirteen taulas. These stone megaliths are said to resemble Stonehenge, and many have wondered about the mysterious origins of the taulas. The word taula means “table” in Catalan, which is one of the primary languages of Menorca. The taulas are t-shaped, with a large, flat, horizontal stone perched upon a tall vertical stone, and surrounded by a U-shaped wall. The tallest taulas reach 12 feet high (3.7 meters). For many years it was believed that the taulas were topped with a roof. However, researchers ultimately agreed that the structures did not include a roof. The evidence available suggests that a sacrificial fire pit was located at the front of the taula, with which a roof would be impractical.

The taulas are a sight to marvel, considering they were constructed well before the invention of heavy machinery, or any other mechanisms to assist with heavy lifting. It is fascinating to imagine how our prehistoric ancestors were able to lift these giant stones into place, creating well-balanced structures that would withstand the test of time.

Talaiot de Trepuco, megalithic table-shaped Taula monument on Menorca island, Spain.

Talaiot de Trepuco, megalithic table-shaped Taula monument on Menorca island, Spain. Credit: Tuulijumala / BigStockPhoto

It is believed that the taulas were constructed sometime between 1000-3000 B.C. by the Talaiotic culture. Many have tried to determine why the taulas were constructed and what meaning they held. Clearly a structure that would take such effort to create would fulfill some important purpose for those who constructed it. There are several theories as to the purpose the taulas served, each offering a potential glimpse into the culture and lifestyle of the Talaiotic people.

Tomb of Es Tudons, monument of the Talaiotic peoples of Menorca.

Tomb of Es Tudons, monument of the Talaiotic peoples of Menorca. Public Domain

One theory is that the taulas served as a temple for the god of the Talaiotic people. There are no indicators of which religion they practiced or what they called their god, but a discovery during excavations has led one researcher to theorize that they may have worshipped a bull god. Researchers were excavating a site known as Torralba d’en Salort when they came across a bronze bull figurine, which may have sat on a shelf within the Torralba d’en Salort as an item of worship. The bull was found among other artifacts that are said to resemble items of worship that would be found within a church today. The bull figure is of special significance because the first people to ever inhabit Menorca came from Crete, and the bull played a prominent role in their culture. Spanish archaeologist J. Mascaro Pasarius was the first to suggest the idea of a bull god, with the slabs representing the face and horns of the bull. This theory has not been widely accepted.

Taula, Torralba d´en Salord of the Talaiotic culture, Menorca.

Taula, Torralba d´en Salord of the Talaiotic culture, Menorca.  Wikimedia, ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Another theory is that the taulas are a place of healing. Under this theory, the taulas were oriented to the Centaurus constellation. The healing theory has been bolstered by items that were discovered during an excavation of the taulas: an inscription reading “ I am Imhotep the god of medicine ” and a bronze horse hoof, which represents the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius. Over the years, the Centaurus constellation became harder and harder to see, and was barely visible at all by 1000 B.C. This may explain the eventual abandonment of the taulas, as they would have become irrelevant when the Centaurus constellation was no longer visible to the Talaiotic people.

Comments

Only Giants could build such mega structures or perhaps Gods? . . . . . Lookout! they found the bronze bull figurine! They're coming!! The Centaurus constellation was probably suppose to be The Pleiades constellation.
Nb: note the Tomb.

The Dolmens and Megaliths of Minorca are no mystery. They are monuments made to some event that was memorable to those who could only record their wonder in stone. Others coming upon the site may Share a similar experience or one of their own and wish to comment, much as I do now. These places are magical, not because of some mystical power but because they inspire us to respond!

As a youth I visited Stonehenge. You could touch it then. I saw grafiti carved into the stones, in many language. I looked out onto Salisbury Plain at the mound graves in the distance.

Some years later in Philadelphia at Independence Hall I ran my finger down the crack in the Liberty Bell, can't do that anymore either! What good is a bell with a crack in it? The inscription: "Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof" - When the bell first rang it signified that Human Slavery was henceforth to be outlawed in Pennsylvania. I knew you couldn't sign your name to it indicate you had been there, you saw , you knew! I was inspired to sing a song on the spot. Pete Seeger's Hammer Song. Not so durable as stone or bronze perhaps; but my voice did ring out!

At Delphi I sang again, marching up he hill on the Sacred Way. It was a silly song but it was a Paean. I wasn't the first to do this but the local cops stopped me. It is against the law in Greece to sing on the Sacred Way? OMG!

Visit magical places, see for yourself, touch them if you can. Sing a song. Should they ever arrest me for singing in such a place I ask the judge to show me the evidence!

Waist of time readings your comment,
You come across as a smug self lover. Instead of a well traveled artifact or site lover. Did you vist these places for the historical wonder or just so you ccould tell people how wonderful you are for going.

About the stones
The bottom upright stone in the top photos has two slots on one side, the top one could support a beam and the second a lower one. Also the stone appears to be finished on this side at least and the top stone is rough, I think the topmost stone could have been put up at a later time, possibly to appeal to tourists?
About the tomb
could this little area have been a house for the guardians of the tomb and not had a true religious significance? Do they have any idea who the tomb was for?
OK, back to work:)

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Related Ancient Origins Articles

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article