The Talayotic (also spelled Talaiotic) culture that once flourished on the Balearic Islands of Spain is named after prehistoric watchtowers called talayots. The island’s residents are thought to have kept an eye out for enemies advancing toward their idyllic settlement from atop these stone perches.
While the culture itself may have declined with the coming of the Romans, the megalithic talayots are still scattered around the isles. You can find some at the Torre d’en Galmes, a ruined town that was started around 1400 BC on the island of Menorca.
The well-preserved site is situated on a hill that encompasses a public area with three talayots and one taula, a T-shaped construction which is thought to be a religious structure. The stone monuments are architectural marvels which were assembled without the help of machines, and they’ve largely managed to withstand the test of time.
Toward the southern side of the site there are private dwellings that were constructed in a circular design that radiates outward from a central courtyard. Some of the houses also have a hypostyle or storage chamber. Historians have even discovered a sophisticated water cistern system.
With the help of these remarkable structures and other artifacts discovered on the island, researchers have been able to piece together a narrative about the resourceful community which lived there for hundreds of years. The unique settlement may have been an important trading center with ties to other ancient civilizations.