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Puig de Sa Morisca (Talayotic period)

Project for the creation of the archaeological  Park of Puig de Sa Morisca

Location and Access
The talayotic settlement is situated on the hillside of the Puig de Sa Morisca and over the top of the summit. From there you have a wide dominant view both of the plain of Santa Ponça and the areas of  Son Ferrer and el Toro. Most of the sites in this area are split up from this settlement and so  it becomes and authentic reference point for all of them.

Description of the site
It is a settlement with a rather complex configuration, that is relected not only in its crono-cultural evolution but also in its spacial distribution.
On a cronological level, it is documented with different intensity as being a long occupation that probably went from the initial talayot, with certainty from the  VI century aC. until the Almohade period, abandoning it definately in 1229 with the conquest of the island by King Jaume I.
On a spacial level, it is documented the presence of different outlets distributed along the Puig de Sa Morisca, especially on its summit, on the eastern and northern slope and on the hillside that is formed with the lowest rock which is found on the side of the hill.
The different prospecting jobs have let us document architectural structures of many different types (talayots, towers, rooms, remains of surrounding walls, caves and shelters, etc.) that are distributed in three large areas:

  • Area of the Acrópolis
  • Rocky shelters located on the eastern slope of the  Puig
  • Defence elements located on the eastern slope of the Puig
  • Defence elements and living area located on the hillside.
  • Rocky crag with protected access.

Area of the Acropolis
This area is formed by the highest summit of the Puig de Sa Morisca and by its slopes. Along the whole of this area, different funtional areas, with different constructed structures are distributed.
A.- On the highest point of the  puig a circular construction is documented, probably a talayot built using the ciclopic technique,  with some blocks well placed in a horizontal position forming paralell rows. On the north side of the construction, which is the part that has best survived, you can see four rows of blocks, while the eastern part has suffered a higher level of degradation. It is most probable that this area housed the entrance doorway.
The interior of the structure has been converted in modern times, with the building of a circular wall, not very high, that masks the primitive construction.
From this area you have a wide dominant view of all the territory and the neighbouring sites. You can control all the old marsh of Santa Ponça, the plain that extends towards the  Puig de Saragossa and all the coast that leads from el Toro to the bay..
B.- Along the whole of the plain to the summit of the  Puig you can see abundant remains of ceramics and possible remains of constructions in very bad state of conservation.  It is most probable that in this area, most of the fittings were made of wood or of materials that haven't been conserved.

Rocky shelters located on the eastern side of the  Puig
On the eastern slope of the Puig, where the cliffs are documented, there are two rocky shelters:
1.- The first shelter is rocky, narrow and very long. It has a length of 16 m. and its width goes from 2 m.at the narrowest part to 4 m. at the widest part. This shelter is closed with a wall built in ciclopic technique, with large irregular-formed blocks that don't form parallel rows. In modern times this wall suffered changes, adding a new course that doesn't have any relationship with the old ones. The access to the shelter is by means of a doorway   70cm. wide.
2.- A few meters from the previous shelter there is another one that has an irregular, triangular floor. The enclosing wall is built using a dry stone tecnique and probably during a later period.  The access to the shelter is made through a doorway which is 50 cm. wide.

Defence elements located on the eastern slope of the Puig
The whole of the summit area of the  puig is protected with defence elements that are located on the slopes that have easy access, especially on the eastern and northern slope:

  • Amongst these defence elements we should point out the presence of two towers that are located on the northern slope, just on top of the cliffs.  They are two towers that have been constructed in the ciclopic tecnique, with large irregular blocks. Apart from their defence funtion, it appears that these towers also had the function of a visual control of the whole territory.  Each one of them appears to visually dominate a wide strategic  territory as is the old marsh area of Santa Ponça and el Turó de Ses Abelles, the sea coast that runs from la Caleta to el Toro or el pla and the ancient flooded area of Salobrar of Magaluf.
    One of these towers has been excavated in the last few years and a clear occupation of the IV century a.C. has been documented.

Along the eastern and northern slopes, it has been documented that the remains of walls enclosing the access to the summit, set out  in a discontinous fashion in the areas of easy access, have been found.  The sides of these walls are formed by large stone irregular-shaped  blocks.  In some areas, these walls are more than 2 meters high.

Defence elements and dwelling area on the hillsides
The Puig de Sa Morisca is made up of two hillsides, one higher and bigger, where most of the archeological remains are located, and the other which is much lower and smaller. There is a river bed between the two of them which borders an area that is relatively flat. A large amount of architetural and ceramic remains have been documented in this area.  Overall there are two areas to be distinguished:
A.- In the flat area that extends towards the east and the south,you can find the dwelling area of the settlement. Square floored rooms have been documented, some of them with dividing walls.  Most of them are not in a good state of preservation.
B.- In this same area, remains of walled enclosures with an access entrance have been found.  This defensive element protected the dwelling area that was situated in the less protected part and the easiest access.  During a period that still hasn't been established, this surrounding wall lost its defensive function, as rooms that had been built within these walls have been documented. 
C.- Built on to the rocky crag, another tower is located, constructed using large irregular stone blocks. Another wall is built just here that makes access difficult to the northern slope and that probably joined the two hills. At the present time, it cannot be identified with any other stretch in the the construction of modern walls. In any event, all over the plain abundant remains of this wall suppose that the height was never inferior to 2.m.

Rocky crag with protected access
At the side of the highest point, there is another crag, lower and rocky but with a more abrupt profile.  The only access to the summit of this crag is by the southern slope. As we have previously seen, there is a circular tower standing next to its base that probably continued with the wall.  
At the present time no construction element has been documented, probably owing to the continuous erosion of the crag, together with acntropic action, have made any existing remains disappear. In any case adobes made in the rock that may be some kind of steps to facilitate access from the interior of the settlement etc , have been identified. Rows of stones have also been identified that may have formed the walls of an access passage to the summit.
From this summit there is a great visual dominance over the rooms of the settlement and a large part of the territory for gaining resources.

Charteristics crono-cultural
We are talking about a settlement with a high occupation.  Its beginning was probably during the initial talayotic period, although the oldest ceramic remains that we can date with any certainty are from  the VI century BC. With different grades of intensity, this period lasted until the I century A.D.  From this date the ceramic material diminishes, which leads us to believe that the dwelling area was abandoned, although it was still frequented until the  II century A.D., as shown by the presence of ceramic forms belonging to this period.
Later we find a new occupation belonging to the islamic period (phase almohade) that would last until the conquest of the island by the Crown of Aragon in 1229. As a result of this cronocultural phase, the area adopted its present toponym.L The almohade phase is thought to be the last occupation of the peak.  If we bear in mind that the disembarkation of the catalan troups took place in the bay of Santa Ponça, it was probably the Puig de Sa Morisca which was the first to suffer the consequences of the conquest.