The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Es Tudons



The tradition of the Naveta dels Tudons and the Pou de sa Barrina (the well of the driller) is the most interesting of all the Menorcan traditions associated with prehistoric sites. Two young friends courting the same girl, who was undecided whom to marry, agreed on a wager to settle the matter for her. One would build a structure in the shape of an upturned boat (naveta) on the plain at Es Tudons, and the other would drill a well nearby until he struck water. The first to complete his task would marry the girl.

When the young man building the boat structure was on his way with the last stone he leaned over the top of the well and asked his friend how he was getting on. His friend replied that he had just struck water. In a fit of savage jealousy the builder of the navetathrew his last stone into the well and it killed his rival. The naveta builder was never seen again.

The earliest printed version of this tradition known to the writer is d'Albranca, the pseudonym for Francesc Camps y Mercadal (1910).

An attempt to date this tradition can take account of a good deal of circumstantial evidence. It is certainly not 'tourist folklore' or fakelore, as there was very little tourism in Menorca until the late 1950s, and the printed versions are nearly all in Spanish or Catalan and in publications of extremely limited circulation [...]

A glance at the Naveta dels Tudons, combined with a study of all known illustrations of it in elevation, dating from c. 1890, shows that since the late 19th century it has been in its present condition as far as its uppermost remaining course is concerned: only one slab of the top remaining course is in place. Unless the tradition originated when the top surviving course was more complete (in the writer's opinion unlikely), the conclusion must be that popular tradition sees no significant difference between one stone missing from the top course and only one stone remaining of the top course.

Indeed, during a visit to Menorca in July 1981 the writer noted that at least one tourist guide told her party that the monument was completed all but for one stone; and the 'average' tourist seemed to accept this without question. This may become one of the first examples of fakelore to be produced for the Menorcan tourist trade.
From the esteemed L. V. Grinsell, in 'The Popular Names and Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Menorca' - Folklore, Vol. 95, No. 1 (1984), pp. 90-99.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
10th February 2009ce

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