Necropolis of Son Real – Santa Margalida, Spain - Atlas Obscura

Santa Margalida, Spain

Necropolis of Son Real

The largest prehistoric cemetery on the Balearic Islands dates back over 2,500 years. 

Located just steps from the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of Majorca, the Necropolis of Son Real (Necròpoli de Son Real) is a sprawling prehistoric burial ground used from the Iron Age up through the Roman era. 

The oldest tombs in this ancient necropolis—which stretches over 8,600 square feet on the Punta des Fenicis, a small headland in the Bay of Alcudia—date back to the 7th century BC, to the time of the Talaiotic culture on the Balearic Islands. More than 130 tombs have been found in the cemetery so far, containing the human remains of over 300 bodies. Many of the later tombs—those from around the 5th century BCE—are unusually shaped, resembling small ships or horseshoes.

The burial ground was abandoned and deteriorating for centuries, battered by coastal storms and the salty waves of the Mediterranean. It was rediscovered in the middle of the 20th century, and excavations and renovation began. 

Among the usual archaeological objects found at the site, like weapons, bones, and pottery, evidence of a variety of burial rites was also discovered, suggesting the necropolis was used by several different cultures over the years, with different funerary traditions. Remains of musical instruments, armaments, jewelry, shells, and food have been found in the tombs. Many of the items are on display in the Museu monogràfic de Poŀlèntia in Alcudia.

Know Before You Go

Getting to the cemetery is quite a walk as there is still no settlement or road near the site. The best approach is to start at the southernmost beach of Son Bauló in Ca’n Picafort. Leave the beach to the southeast crossing the small river, Torrent Son Bauló. After half an hour walk through the dunes with the sea on your left side and the pines to your right, and you will find the necropolis on the left on the headland. Don't forget to take some water and supplies with you. There is also an Interpretation Center at the necropolis, open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

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