What are They?
Literally “table” in Catalan, taulas are T-shaped stone monuments found only on the island of Menorca. There are 32 known taulas in Menorca, but fewer than half remain standing, the others having toppled over the centuries. Found throughout the island from Ciutadella to the capital Mahon, these monuments are one of the island’s most important cultural symbols.
Taulas can be as large as 3.7 metres tall, and always consist of one vertical pillar topped with a stone slab. They are typically found inside a horseshoe-shaped enclosure of stones, and are frequently positioned near talaiots, stone fortifications that date from the Bronze Age.
Who Built Them?
It is thought that they were built between 1000 and 300 BC by the Talaiotic culture, a society that inhabited both Mallorca and Menorca during the Iron Age. The Talaiotic culture left its mark on both islands. In Mallorca, great stone monuments called tumuli presumably had a funerary purpose. In Menorca, pyramidal tombs called navetas cans still be found today. Clearly, the Talaoitic people were builders – but their most famous work remains Menorca’s taulas.
What Are They For?
The exact meaning and purpose of the taulas is unknown – and that is perhaps why visitors are held spellbound by them. Researches and archaeologists have had a pretty good guess, suggesting religious or astronomical purposes for these stony sentinels. Most of them face south, supporting an astronomical use, but some archaeologists believe that they were a key part in an ancient healing cult.
These monuments, along with other traces of the Talaiotic people, are visible throughout the island, from Alfurinet to Trepucó. If you’re keen to dig into Menorca’s fascinating ancient history, get in touch to discuss your stay on this unique island.