At the beginning of October, I went to Menorca on a Yoga Retreat. Weather perfect, lovely place and I love the Balearics. I've spent time on Ibiza, but I’d never been to Menorca. It is smaller than Ibiza or Majorca, less busy and less well known.
Apart from the yoga and the prospect of a little sun before winter sets in and the storms start rolling in from the Atlantic, I wanted to see the megalithic sites that are unique to this island. I'd read about them years ago in a book about Earth Mysteries and they were on my list of places I'd like visit. We have plenty of megalithic sites in Britain and I've visited a lot of them, but so many have been worn away, degraded, ironed out by ploughing, their stones robbed for later building by people who had no respect or reverence for those who had occupied the land before them.
Torre D'en Galmés is one such settlement. It occupies an extensive site and is the highest point on the island. It is on the southern coast, looking out to sea. All along this coast are similar sites. Apart from the tower-like talayots, there are stone enclosures, containing monumental structures, Taula (table in Catalan), huge slabs of stone topped by massive stone lintels, eerily reminiscent of Stonehenge and the even more mysterious Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. What was their purpose? Table? Platform? Altar? Who constructed them? How? And most of all, why? The same mysteries surround these sites as swirl about so many other remnants of ancient cultures that have disappeared from our memory. They suggest many questions but answer very few.
The mystery here might be to do with the positioning of the site. It faces due south and at night, particularly at a time with no light pollution, it would have had an unparalleled view of the southern night sky, Maybe it had something to do with the position of the stars, alignments with a constellation or constellations that the people here regarded as significant.
Eventually, of course, this distinctive culture disappeared. Maybe the stars they saw as so important, lost that vital alignment and the site was abandoned. Or maybe the process was more gradual; as the island became subsumed into the ever expanding Roman Empire, its distinctive difference was erased. The indigenous culture would have survived for a time but gradually the traditions and beliefs would have been lost and the purpose and function of these monumental structures would have receded, like so much else, into the enigma of the past.