Location and Access
This site is situated on the hill to the left of the entrance to the Santa Ponça Golf Club, next to the roundabout.
This settlement is built on a small hill, not very high, that is formed by a consolidated fossil dune, situated on the left of the entrance to the Santa Ponça Golf Club. Until the XVIII century this hill was surrounded by an area of marshes and swamps and nowadays you can still see small humid areas.
Description of the site
It is a settlement with its own characteristics that have made it up to now unique in Majorca. It is a talayotic settlement but it also has the typical functions of a coastal settlement, carrying out commercial activities, of storing, interchange, manufacturing and functioning as an intermediary redistribution centre between commerce on a grand scale made prominent by the factors of war and the indigenous talayotic populations.
The factory buildings are concentrated on the top of the hill, especially on its eastern side. Erosion has seriously affected part of the hill, it is therefore possible that an indefinate number of structures may have disappeared.
The architectural construction technique is typical of indigenous populations with double cavity walls, filled with rubble and soil, although the stones are of a much more reduced dimension that the majority of the talayotic structures
It is a group of rooms with absidial or square shaped floors with the rear side of the exterior wall slightly rounded. These rooms are situated around a central space that organizes the distribution of all the settlement.
These buildings have the roofs made of branches and cane, waterproofed with clay
Archeologically documented by the discovery of the remains of clay impregnated with vegetable material. This roof is supported by pillars of wooden sticks that have a stone base to prevent humidity. On the exterior of these buildings they built porches or covered areas, but not completely closed in.
It would appear that none of the rooms could be considered as a home in the strict sense, i.e. as an architectural unit assigned to domestic life and family groups. Probably the true homes of the people who occupied the Turó de Ses Abelles were at the settlement of Puig de Sa Morisca.
Amongst the activities that the archeological excavations have been able to document are the following:
1.Activities of storage, commercializing and distribution:
The imported products found in the factory were far greater than the daily necessities of the occupants. One must think that the site was an active commercial centre that received their loads of goods brought by the merchants that not only traded with their own products, but also acted as intermediary or redistributers of products coming from third parties (greek-italian etc.)
Logically the commercial activity needs storage and later redistribution of the products between the interior populations of the island. Within the whole framework of these storage tasks, it is almost certain that they operated a trade market at the Turó de Ses Abelles, for the redistribution of small amounts of wine, oil etc. and probably some ceramics as a valuable product within the indigenous communities that did not use the potters wheel. Most of the amphoras and industrial containers remained in the factories and were reused to keep other goods This fact shows us that most of this interchange was carried out in the same factory where the people from the other villages came to obtain certain products.
2. Activities of craft transformation or manufacturing.
Amongst these different activities of documented transformation of the factory at Turó de Ses Abelles, it should be pointed out those that refer to the grinding of grain with important rotating indigenous mills. The grain was kept in amphoras which once emptied of their original contents were reused as containers.
It is documented that in one room there was an oven, probably dedicated to the making of bread as it is not documented that there were the remains that other activities such ceramic firing or metalurgy usually leave (remains of slag, ceramics with defects or burning etc)
The documentation of a number of pieces of weaving found in one of the rooms reflects the exístance of manufacturing activities related to textile manufacturing. The presence in another room of a huge pile of sand with a canal at the bottom, makes you think that there must have existed other additional activities to the production of textiles such as washing and dyeing of wool. All of these activities perfectly tally with a society where rearing livestock plays an important role inside its economic system.
At the factory at Turó de Ses Abelles they also carried out metallurgical activities needing a low level of technology, such as recovering lead and later smelting to obtain rivets that served to repair broken crockery. There also exist some details that remind you of the existence of nodules of iron ore, that is found naturally in the land near the site. These iron nodules were exchanged with the merchants for other products.
Definitely we are facing a paradigmatic site which is unique at the moment in Majorca and that proves the existence at a high level of relations between the indigenous world and the merchants and indeed its existence wouldn't exist if it isn't taken in the context of this colonial relationship.
Inside the commercial and economic relationship of a colonial situation, the factory of el Turó de Ses Abelles has a clear intermediary role between commerce on a grand scale carried out my the merchants in the coastal settlements and the redistribution to traders of some goods, many of them previously handled, re-put into containers or transformed
The reasons for the final abandonment are not clear but there are two factors that may have had an influence: On the one hand a change in the commercial contacts with the exterior of the natives owing to the Roman conquest that implied new relationships of different dependence. On the other hand there has been a change in the dunes that form the actual beach of Sant Ponça that could make boat access to the site difficult.
In any case, the documented archeological register of the site makes us think that there was a rapid but not violent from this important manufacturing and redistributing centre
The excavations haven't provided precise details on the founding of the settlements. It is possible that the initial moments of the commercial and craft activities may have arisen during the last years of the II century A.C.
There already existed structures on top of the hills, that were partly reused with the later building of the factory. This factory operated its activity in the II century, especially between 150 and 120 A.C. The fact that many of the ceramics, especially the amphoras, are documented in the context of abandon and reused in secondary usage, meant that many of these pieces could last two or more generations once they had disappeared from the regular commercial circuit..
The most modern materials that could give us information on the moment of abandon situates us in the first half of the I century A.C. (Campaniense A tardia, platos de campaniense ánforas lamboglia 2)