Sa Cudia Cremada, Menorca, was an untouched archaeological site until we started excavating one of its buildings last year.
This year the team will go back to work in the settlement’s Iron Age sanctuary, where they will continue reducing its stratigraphic levels and locating materials that will help out to narrow down the chronology of this type of buildings.
But Sa Cudia Cremada not only has its sanctuary, but also several remains which show a great state of preservation and other interesting features. Let’s find out more about them!
- The taula sanctuary
Taula sanctuaries can only be found in Menorca. They are horseshoe-shaped buildings whose façades are rectilinear or slightly concave. These buildings are usually oriented to the South and were the religious spaces of Talayotic settlements during the late Iron Age period.
Inside these buildings the main feature is a monument called Taula, which consists of a vertical slab (that can reach up to 5 meters in the biggest examples) and a lintel on top, forming a monumental T-shaped structure. At Sa Cudia Cremada we are excavating this type of religious building and last year we already located its central T-shaped structure: the taula. From now on, by excavating the different levels inside the building we’ll expose more of it and get to find out its length!
- Mysterious steles
At Sa Cudia Cremada’s outskirts there are 4 carved stones which are embedded into a farmer’s wall, which was possibly built in the 19th century. But these 4 steles seem to be older and could have been reused by the farmers to build and decorate the wall. Some researchers state that they are Punic, whereas others believe that they are Medieval. We have to keep researching them to find out the chronology and significance of these steles. But what is sure is that the 4 of them are the most photographed monuments at Sa Cudia Cremada, since 2 of them have carved faces!
- Large and small talayot
In the area where the sanctuary is located there are 2 talayots: one to the South and another to the North of it. There are around 300 talayots on the island and most of them are located within the talayotic settlements’ limits. Their layout, shape and dimensions (large truncated cone-shaped monuments similar to towers) have led researchers to state that one of their main functions could have been related to the control of the surrounding territory and communication with other settlements (as watchtowers do). But so far their function has not been determined yet and possibly talayots had more than one, being multipurpose structures that apart from watchtowers could have symbolized power and strength and be places for the elite to carry out different activities and ceremonies.
The Northern talayot at Sa Cudia Cremada is a solid structure and seems to have a monumental staircase that leads to its upper platform. The smaller one could have had an inner chamber (now collapsed).
- Funerary caves
Menorcan prehistoric communities buried their dead in different funerary places and monuments throughout more than 2000 years of Prehistory on the island: the first inhabitants buried their dead in dolmens and during the Bronze and Iron Age natural caves, buildings called navetes and rock-cut tombs, amongst others, were used to bury their dead in a collective ritual, where all individuals were inhumated along with grave goods.
Sa Cudia Cremada has several rock-cut tombs or hypogea, which were used during the Late Talayotic period to bury the deceased. One of these hypogea presents an excellent state of conservation and has several carved columns.
- The 3rd talayot
Apart from the North and South talayots we already mentioned, Sa Cudia Cremada has another monumental structure that seems to be a talayot. This one has an inner chamber and a rectilinear façade, instead of having a circular or elliptical layout.
The surprise is in its inside! Since there is an art-nouveau sculpture of Mary Magdalene there! One of the landladies placed it there long time ago and now the beautiful sculpture forms part of the History of this talayot!
There are many more structures to be located and excavated at Sa Cudia Cremada…some of them are quite visible from the surface…while the others might be completely buried on the ground….It is without a doubt an amazing site!
Join us and be part of the adventure of researching Sa Cudia Cremada’s sanctuary! It is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to dig in a building like this!