The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland

Talati de Dalt, Algendar, Minorca, Balearic Islands

Talati de Dalt Burial Tomb, Minorca, Balearics

Longitude 39.892946. Latitude 4.215006. The megalithic monument of Talati de Dalt or Taula Talaiot de Talati de Dalt on the south-eastern side of the island of Menorca (Minorca), is located some 300-400 metres south of the C-721 Carretera de Ciutadella Mahon highway – a little to the east of Talati de Dalt hamlet. The site is about two miles west of the town of Mahon (Mao) and half a mile east of Algendar village. It is partly surrounded on the southern side by the ruins of an ancient settlement (talaiot) and some defensive walls that would originally have had a watchtower. The taula monument (table tomb) and it’s associated village or settlement are thought to date back to the Copper-Age 3,000-1,6000 BC, which was a part of the Bronze-Age. The settlement appears to have been re-occupied “again” sometime between 400-200 BC – the Celtic period of the Iron-Age.

The prehistoric village complex of Talati comprises of a number of excavated houses with rooms, some having slab-stones that are still standing and stone-flagged floors – around which are the low ruins of defensive walls. It is conjectured that upto one hundred Celtic-Talayotic people lived here in what would have been a “covered enclosure”. Some of the buildings have not, as yet, been excavated. There are also subterranean caves in the hillside here with hypostylic, columned burial chambers or halls that are hewn out of the caves and, a connecting underground settlement. This has massive stone slabs for its roof. It can be better seen from the south-west side of the taula monument where stone steps lead on down through a large stone doorway connected to two underground chambers for burial purposes – the taula  (above ground) being connected to this underground burial complex probably as a shrine-cum-altar?

Talatí de Dalt archaeological site, Minorca, Spain

Talatí de Dalt, Minorca, Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the central horseshoe-shaped sanctuary stands the taula which resembles a sort of “T” shaped table tomb. This strange looking monument has a fashioned central capital stone and an oval-shaped base that is topped by a large rectangular, overlapping stone very similar to a capstone for a burial chamber. Another carved taula (pilaster) leans against the monument but does not, in any way support the taula –  it almost certainly used to stand up-right but has now fallen sideways. Three more standing stones are located around the monument. The taula acted as a sort of shrine, altar-stone, or tomb-marker for the burial chambers that lie beneath it. Talati de Dalt is almost certainly the prettiest and best of all the archaeological sites on the Island of Minorca.