I visited this site on 16/09/2010, it was the only site I managed to get to on what was a family holiday after having just moved house. What a site this is, I was unprepared for both its size and complexity. I went at about three in the afternoon and only saw two other people, and as the hut was closed I couldn't pay to get in!
It would appear that since Postman and Jane visited the site, that two of the Taulas have had their capstones restored to them.
This was our last day on Menorca and it was raining, we sat in the car waiting for a window of dryness, as soon as it stopped we payed the guy in the shed and starting our way round this metropolis. This place is huge, the path takes you to the top of the hill passing some kind of building then up to a Talayot. Around the tower is the sanctuary, high walls with niches in with the perhaps ritually toppled taula. Then its down to the caves, all surprisingly close together and one has three large carved stones, for some homely purpose I presume. Then down to the settlement where the water holes and covered house with its wheel like design are, some of it was covered over with black tarpualin some archaeology had been done recently, one small metre square part was covered by a sheet of perspex, my guess is that it was the actual ground surface or something .
The path (if you can find it) then takes you back to the carpark past another stone fronted cave/chamber and the other talaoyots, it was here near the carpark that my daughter started jumping and dancing around shouting "snake", sure enough there was a small brown grass snake and she nearly stepped on it, out in open area too.
It was nearing departure time so it was off to our last menorcan site Trepuco
We could see Torre d'en Gaumes from the front porch of our villa, its three talaiot towers rising up on the horizon just about 2kms away. However, such is the state of Menorcan roads we had to drive miles to get to it. This is government operated site and has had money put in to it – areas roped off, nice concrete paths, wooden walkways, even toilets. This is a rare one for which you pay an entry fee. However, the young woman working in the ticket collection booth was very helpful and gave me a poster (featuring taulas, of course) which I admired on the wall for free. This woman, who had an unpronounceable name, would later help us find two amazing monuments within 500ms of Gaumes.
Gaumes is a very complex poblat monument which we didn't have time enough to unravel. It comprises all the usual features and them some more. Although it didn't have an intact taula to thrill me, it did have one or two other features which blew me away.
The first was to do with the taula. The capstone has at some point in antiquity been removed and inverted. The carved socket which the upright once slotted into now lies skywards like a watertrough or font.
The second was a fabulous system of water storage cisterns, great holes cut into the rock.
On such a dry island, fresh water must have been a premium commodity and the inhabitants at Gaumes collected and stored their water with particular flair. There were six or more tanks.
Thirdly, in one of the houses the roof structure was up. A roughly round space had a pillar in the middle from which long flat stones balanced and radiated out to the pillars in the walls like the spokes of a wheel.
Fourthly, a few intact 'doorframes'. Moth said that for him, it somehow made the houses much more real.
Finally, the views, the views! Cor! From up here you can see perhaps half of the southern part of the island.
Featured in The Megalithic European (TME) page 155.
Access: Entry charge. Carpark & good paths all around the complex. In places, the paths are concreted, but on steeper parts feature shallow steps.
The southern section (furthest from the carpark) is so 'busy' that you can't reach all the buildings on the paths. It's also a walk of a few km to cover the whole site.
To reach the site, take the 721 towards Alaior. Just to the west of Alaior, head south towards Son Bou (Julian says it's signposted from here). After around 3km, take a turn to the left and you can't miss it!
Visited 1 June 2005
A showcase site & stunning complex!!! I'd advise visiting early or late, as I bet it's pretty busy with tourists most days, but I think it closes around 6 or 7pm.