Valldemosa DAMARC The Dig The Three Kings


Mallorca's Copper Age

An Earthwatch expedition run by Bill Waldren has been running on Mallorca since the early '70s. At this point it's called Mallorca's Copper Age. Perhaps it should be called something more like "European Prehistory 101". Though I thought I'd learned some basic archaeological techniques on the Origins of Angkor expedition, I learned others on this expedition when I went in January 1999. We studied the prehistory of Europe as well, a story of a people very different from those in Thailand. waldren.GIF (16224 bytes)

The civilization Waldren is working to uncover and to understand is that of the "transitional" period between the Stone Age and the Bronze Age - in Europe and on the little island of Mallorca off its coast, that time is identified as being around 2500 BC.

Bill has made many significant archaeological discoveries on Mallorca. Read about them here.

In many parts of Europe, very early sites have been uncovered that are identified as being settlements of the "Beaker People," so called because of the distinctive pottery found on their sites, beautiful and quite sophisticated. In few places in Europe have more of these Beaker sites been found than in Mallorca, and no one has been more identified with the sites there than Bill Waldren.
Son Mas settlement is in a valley surrounded by mountains, near the town of Valldemosa in northern Mallorca.

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Portals to buildings, walls still intact after several thousand years, gave us a feel of how it must have felt to step into the buildings in that very early time.

In this lovely setting, we worked happily in the trenches - carefully disassembling the walls of the settlement, which may have served as a sanctuary for the Beaker peoples. It was in use from roughly 2500 BC to about AD 300. As we turned up Roman pottery sherds, animal bones, and a rare piece of "nipple ware", I enjoyed the sun beaming down on us and the sheep surrounding us.

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One carefully digs along through the morning, one trowel's worth at a time, brushing soil away from the pieces you uncover, putting what you find in a pail beside you.

We shared our site with a flock of sheep, grateful for the sun warming the chilly January air.

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