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Sant Agusti Vell



Access A walk of 1.5-2km along pretty good gravel & grass tracks. Not steep at any point (except climbing up to what I've called Sant Agusti 'Bonus' Talaiot, but undulating and rough underfoot in a few places - especially at the site itself!

Detailed directions, as long/lat co-ordinates are best guess

I headed west along the road from Mao to Ciutadella, and took the main left turn towards Sant Tomas. I passed through Es Migjorn Gran and about halfway from there to the little roundabout entering Sant Tomas, there is a dirt verge-cum-layby on the right. I know it's roughly halfway because I went right past to make sure it was the right place!

This parking place is effectively on a triangular 'island' between 2 arms (the second of which was pretty difficult to spot in the vegetation) of a farm lane leading to Sant Agusti Vell.

Setting off on foot up the farm drive ('no vehicles' sign), I immediately noticed what looked like an overgrown talaiot to the right, on a fairly steep hill. I figured it was probably way too soon for the 'main' Sant Agusti stuff, but had to have a stomp up to have a look. Apart from anything else, I didn't trust the tourist map I had! See Sant Agusti 'Bonus' Talaiot - I couldn't find a real name for it....

From this talaiot, roughly to the south/SSW I could see a couple of very clear talaiots on the horizon a km or 2 away. Target located! (There was yet another really trashed talaiot to the north too!)

So I headed back to the farm track and continued along the blessedly smooth track, but by the time I reached the farm buildings I hadn't spotted an definite path to get to where the site appeared to be.

Just as I reached the first byre, there was a farmgate on the right, with a nice herd of cattle in close attendance. There looked to be a faint grassy track beyond the gate, heading in the right direction. Once I rounded the west side of the farm buildings, the talaiots were clearly visible.

After about 10-15 minutes, the talaiots were very close, but somewhat obscured by shrubby bushes between them and the path. Here I got a sign that the site's definitely supposed to be accessible to the public, as it has the familiar 'official' Menorca monument litterbin. Approaching the talaiots, I even spotted an info board!

Visited 3 June 2005
Two talaiots in pretty good condition stand in a poblat which is quite scattered and large, but close to them is largely a rolling sea of rubble with remnants of walls poking out. Between the talaiots I could see an oval enclosure with several fairly tall uprights – I took this to be the remnants of a taula-less taula sanctuary.

I've since discovered comments on the rather 'quaint' (frames!) but useful 'The Archaeology of Minorca' website, that this makes sense, and apparently another enclosure is taken to be a second taula(less) sanctuary.
I picked my wobbling way around the edge of the rubble sea to the south of the talaiots, by a (probably) more modern wall, spotting a series of cisterns as I went.

But then, peeping over the wall…the unmistakeable 'T' of a complete Taula!!!! How could this not be mentioned in the info we had? I resisted the temptation of elation and having seen several other taulas during the week, I adopted a cynical view – it didn't seem to be in the 'right' place in relation to the other remains & the taula itself didn't quite look right.

Getting a foothold in the wall where it passes closest to the 'T' of the 'taula', I peered over. The taula seemed suspiciously close to one 'corner' of the only very vaguely oval enclosure. The enclosure seemed unusually 'open', not particularly oval and rather 'plain' for a taula sanctuary. Not sure it's the 'real deal'.

As mentioned above, however, there is meant to be another taula sanctuary here, without a 'T'. I suppose this could be it, but with a 'modern' T....

Also in its 'favour', the 'T' at Na Comerma is also very much in a 'corner' of its enclosure yet seems to be accepted as 'real'. But the enclosure at Na Comerma is so full of rubble that it's difficult to tell what's going on. Overall though, Na Comerma still manages to feel more like other taula sanctuaries than this one does.

And the final thing that makes me think I may be wrong to doubt its authenticity is that according to a taula 'reconstruction' diagram I've seen, (at least some) taula sanctuaries may have had many smaller 'T's on pillars round the edges of the sanctuary. And there is possible evidence of that here.

Have a look & decide for yourself!

The talaiots
The talaiots both seemed relatively small compared with, say, Trepuco or Talati de Dalt.

And to be honest, after a week in Menorca, the one to the west was 'just another quite nice talaiot', once I'd established that it wasn't the one that you can get inside. (It does have what look like a couple of small blocked entrances though.)

But the other is a mindblast! This was the eastern one - nearest the path I described arriving by. From the outside it's the same, but once you find the actual entrance…(round the 'side', facing the 'dodgy' taula)…and look in - WOW!!! Suddenly vague thoughts of the vaulting of Orcadian tombs like the Fairy Knowe come stealing in…. (Though without the ultra-classy Orcadian flag stonework and it wasn't built as a tomb!) It also reminded me a bit of a less claustrophobic Grain Souterrain.

Assuming that talaiots were indeed lookout towers, presumably the inside was used as a shelter for the lookouts or was where they lived. I've read that most or many talaiots had an entrance and/or 'room' either at the bottom or near the top, but I don't think I've read anything that said anything about the use of the inside.

Well worth the walk!!!
Moth Posted by Moth
30th July 2007ce

Comments (1)

With regard to privacy in Menorca, you often see signs saying 'Coto privado de caza'. This doesn't mean it's private, keep out, but refers to reserved hunting rights.
Posted by Whoop_John
29th August 2007ce
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