Social Walk in Parc Arqueologic – Puig de Sa Morisca – Santa Ponsa
Sixteen RC Calvía International Rotarians, guests and a grandchild plus 3 dogs, met for a walk on Wednesday 24 April, at the entrance to the archaeological site on a hill on the Nova Santa Ponsa side of the town. We were met by Manuel Calvo, Archaeologist at Calvia Town Hal. He provided background information on the site, which has been in existence since the bronze age (none of us oldies can remember that but it was, in fact, BC, so a little before even our time). A lot of the site is owned by Calvia but a significant amount is in private ownership – like most of the land in Majorca.
When this part of the Island was first settled the climate was cooler and wetter than now and there were few pine trees but lots of oak trees. Most of Santa Ponsa, as we know it today was wetlands. The walk took us through the restored buildings of the site built on the strategically important location on a raised site, and the methods of construction using large rocks hauled up to the site and placed in position by harnessed cows and bulls was explained. The fauna of the site, which includes a very rare orchid and a plant which when dried or smoked enables you to “talk to the Gods”. This is, in fact, a plant which contains substances akin to Ecstasy. So, it is not surprising that the early settlers were able to talk to their gods!
Santa Ponsa was the major port of the Island trading charcoal for goods from Southern Spain, Italy and the South of France with the Phoenicians. There were a number of settlements around the area, on high ground, which were important and remains exist today.
Climate change occurred and the oak died out to be replaced by pine trees. Also, the Romans invaded. The agriculture changed – olives and vines were grown and the fauna changed too with the introduction of rabbits, ducks, goats. At this point in time, the site was deserted because it had no strategic importance – Palma and Alcudia became the main ports. Then when the Arab occupation took place the site was occupied again and was eventually the site of a battle between the Arabs and the Christian forces of King Phillip I.
The site never had the same level of occupation again, but in General Franco’s time there was a gun emplacement to guard against any would be occupation of the Island by an enemy force.
The climb to the top was a bit of an effort but well worth it for the fantastic views from the top – even to Cabrera in the East. Also, for the very interesting history lesson provided. The planned picnic didn’t happen because of uncertainties about the weather. But all met at Maison del Rey afterwards for lunch. A very pleasant way of ending a very enjoyable experience. Thank you, Kate, for suggesting and organising it. It was a great day.
A full gallery of all the photos can be seen here.
Kate and I felt it would be a nice gesture to provide Manuel, our guide, with a small thank you present for his time and dedication to providing RC Calvía International members with a fascinating few hours in the Mallorcan sunshine at the top of a Sta Ponsa mountain-top – well, it felt that way by the time we got to the top.
We felt there was one picture of Manual (in action) which did him justice and he might like to have a copy. Quick email photos are ‘everyday’ and soon discarded. So we had one properly printed and Kate took it along to give to him yesterday. She took a ‘happy-snap’ of the event and, as you can see below, Manual was well chuffed. Our sincere thanks once again for a great trip out to Sierra Sta Ponsa.