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Taula and Talaiot

Menorca, Spain

2009 Q1

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The Taulas of Menorca are unique to this Balearic Island, a part of Spain. The word “taula” means table in the Catalan language, which is spoken in Menorca, due to it’s “T” shape with a large flat “table” on the top of a vertical support stone or stones. Also, in Greek mythology Taulas was one of the six sons of Illyrius, the eponymous ancestor of the Taulanti peoples, and it was thought that these megaliths were built by the makers of these myths during the Bronze age about 2,400 to 3,000 years ago.. The naming of these monuments thus came about because of the dual aspects of their appearance and the peoples that built them.

The Taulas are always associated with Talaiots, the wall behind the Taula in the sketch. These megalithic walls were apsidal in plan (like a horseshoe), and 3 to 4 meters in height (10' to 14'). They are thought to be both defensive in nature and encapsulating of the space about the Taula they are associated with. The Talaiots are on other Balearic Islands and in Greece as well. There are over 274 Talaiots on Men- orca and Majorca, and the Talaiots predate the Taulas. The Taulas are thought to have been built for religious purposes, perhaps funerary in nature, although it is not certain, nor is it certain what the purpose of the Talaiots was.

The particular Taula shown in the print of the sketch by Ladd P. Ehlinger is that of Talatí de Dalt, about 4 km west of Maó, the capital of Menorca. The tallest Taula is about 3.7 meters high (about 12') and the top stone always has canted sides and sits on one, tall pillar, composed of up to three stacked stones, with the top centered in the short direction. Some Taulas have angled stones in the vertical that brace it.

Ladd P. Ehlinger, AIA

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