Evidence of quarrying at the iron age site of Torre d'en Galmés, Menorca, Spain
The island of Menorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) contains numerous megalithic structures (e.g., watchtowers, sanctuaries) and private buildings (e.g., domestic spaces, storage areas). Until recently, archaeological research has concentrated on architecture (and associated material remains), but research on the raw materials (source, method of quarrying and their social implications) in constructing these monuments has been very sparse. This paper summarizes some initial results of our recent excavations at Torre d'en Galmés, which show that the quarrying of limestone was widespread: within buildings, in open spaces between buildings, and beyond the limits of the main occupation of the site. Inhabitants exploited joints and bedding planes in the Miocene limestone that covers the southern half of the island, ignoring softer marls, which have been quarried for construction only since the Roman conquest. The sizes and shapes of the quarried blocks can be used to reflect on social aspects, since quarrying of small blocks within buildings could have been whereas the extraction, transport, and construction of large standing uprights from outside the limits of the site would have required a greater communal effort.