воскресенье, 8 декабря 2019 г.

Intact deposit of prehistoric funerary vessels found in Minorca


An intact deposit comprising a collection of some 50 well preserved prehistoric vases, accompanied by the remains of bones of animals, mainly goats, sheep and pigs, has been documented by a group of archaeologists from the Museum of Minorca in what is considered "an exceptional find".

Intact deposit of prehistoric funerary vessels found in Minorca
Credit: Museu de Menorca
The discovery is still in the process of being studied but specialists interpret that this deposit of vases would have formed part of the funerary rituals of commensality linked to burials in lime arranged within the hypogeum, an event never before documented in Minorca.


On the occasion of the forthcoming exhibition dedicated to the archaeologist Joan Flaquer Fabregues (1887-1963), promoted by the Museum of Minorca, several studies have been carried out dedicated to his figure as well as his private collection, which has been deposited in the Museum since 2017.

Intact deposit of prehistoric funerary vessels found in Minorca
Credit: Museu de Menorca
The Museum explains that "from these investigations it has been known that a significant number of the prehistoric vases in this private collection, totalling almost 300, come from a hypogeum located in La Mola (Alaior). Most of these vases, which come from the final Talayotic (dated between the third and second centuries BC), are of a type unique and exclusive to the island of Minorca: the high-bottomed vase that has always been related to ritual and symbolic purposes. This discovery was exceptional, although Joan Flaquer never published the results of this excavation".


In order to reopen the scientific study that Joan Flaquer began with the discovery of the La Mola deposit at the beginning of the 20th century, a team of archaeologists from the Museum of Minorca has launched new archaeological research at the site.

Intact deposit of prehistoric funerary vessels found in Minorca
Credit: Museu de Menorca
"The intervention was based on the scant and vague information found in Joan Flaquer's personal notes, and also from the publications of other archaeologists and friends such as Julio Martinez Santa-Olalla. We also know that his mentor Antoni Vives Escudero collaborated with Flaquer in the excavation of Sa Mola between 1915 and 1920. In addition, a 1917 letter from Flaquer to Vives Escudero has survived, in which a sketch of the place where the vases were deposited, outside the hypogeum, appeared. The vast majority of authors suggest that the site was a sanctuary dedicated to some deity, perhaps the Punic goddess Tanit", the Museum points out.


The team of archaeologists, comprising Montserrat Anglada, Octavio Pons and Bruno Pares, and coordinated by the Museum of Minorca, located the hypogeum and set about investigating what the cave's original function was.

Intact deposit of prehistoric funerary vessels found in Minorca
Credit: Museu de Menorca


"On the one hand, a complete photogrammetry of the hypogeum was carried out, which will enable its modelling in 3D and, at the same time, a hypothetical reconstruction of what the hypogeum was like before the various modifications it underwent over time. On the other hand, an archaeological sounding was carried out in the area known as the front courtyard of the hypogeum, an irregularly shaped cavity worked into the rock located in front of the entrance. In addition to locating the place where Joan Flaquer excavated the famous deposit, this exceptional find has been made. In this way, it has been possible to document a part of this intact deposit".

Although these cavities have already been excavated, some recently, they had never expected to find an assemblage with these characteristics. At present, given that the group is in the process of being studied, the specialists point out that this deposit might be part of the funerary rituals of commensality linked to the burials in the hypogeum. This type of practice is very common in other parts of the Mediterranean during prehistoric and classical times, although in Minorca it is the first time it has been documented.

Source: EFE [trsl. TANN, November 24, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

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