National Plan for the protection of underwater cultural patrimony
The Museu participates in this national plan with two projects:
Underwater archaeological maps
Since 1996 the Associació d’Amics del Museu de Menorca (Friends of the Museu de Menorca’s society), with financial support from the Consell Insular de Menorca and the scientific backing of the Museu de Menorca, has carried out an annual campaign of underwater archaeological research of Menorca’s coast.
This project has two parts: the first is carried out at weekends by a team of divers from the Club Nàutic de Ciutadella and coordinated by an archaeologist from Amics del Museu de Menorca. The works are carried out in the municipal area of Ciutadella and the name of the project is Underwater Archaeological Maps of the municipal area of Ciutadella. This activity is carried out by volunteers who do not receive financial remuneration.
The objectives of the Underwater Archaeological Maps of Ciutadella project are focused on three main points:
To strengthen the working group developed through the Club Nàutic de Ciutadella and the Amics del Museu de Menorca. Its consolidation and continuous learning enables us to count on an efficient and systematic team.
2) Development of Ciutadella’s archaeological maps.
3) Safeguard and promote Ciutadella’s archaeological patrimony in particular and Menorca’s in general. These tasks can be carried out in different ways and it will be necessary to check which tasks should be carried out in each situation.
These activities can consist of temporary exhibitions, conference cycles, the development of explanatory leaflets, press articles and magazines, participation in conferences, etc.
The second part of the project is carried out by a group of local and foreign archaeologists that spend a month continuously and systematically surveying different points of the Menorcan coast.
The first phase of the projects consists of carrying out a mailing to inform all clubs and entities related to the islands diving society about the archaeological research taking place on Menorca and in which we ask for cooperation with the aim of collecting information that would enable us to locate new sites. This project is called Underwater Archaeological Maps of Menorca.
Both these projects are connected in such a way that the divers from the Club Nàutic de Ciutadella also cooperate with the archaeological team resulting in them expanding their knowledge.
Excavation of the 4th century B.C.E. remains at Binisafúller
At Binisafúller cove, in the municipality of Sant Lluís, we find one of the most interesting and controversial wrecks from a scientific point of view of the whole of the Balearic islands. This site was found in the 60s of the 20th century and due to its shallow depth the pillaging started rapidly. Only the fragility of the ceramic remains at the site, making it not profitable, put a stop to clandestine activities.
The origin of the boats materials and its chronology have caused a great debate and controversy amongst the scientific community, which will only be resolved through the excavation of the site and the study of the recovered items.
The project for intervention of the wreck of Binisafúller is based on the following scientific, cultural and educational objectives:
- Scientific Objectives: The Binisafúller wreck is to date the only known 4th century B.C.E. boat with a homogeneous shipment of Iberian amphora. Its excavation and study will allow us to, firstly, improve our understanding of the type of commerce that existed in the Balearic Sea at that time, which commercial routes were used and which products were commercialised; secondly, it will improve our knowledge of the naval building techniques used in the 4th century B.C.E. The excavation and study of this wreck aim to be the beginning of a new area of research regarding Iberian navigation and its relationship with the Balearics, as well as their function within the commercial channels of the Mediterranean.
- Cultural objectives. The excavation and latter publication and promotion of the remains could bring a new understanding of the crossroads nature and cultural melting pot that Menorca was. For Menorcan society it could represent the opportunity to get closer to an area of its unknown or very distant cultural heritage, which is its underwater patrimony. This contact will help us to understand it and preserve it. In addition, due to being a unique site in the Mediterranean, once it has been promoted it could be offered to the national and international communities as a cultural product of Menorca.
- Educational objectives: The excavation of the wreck is proposed as an educational opportunity for any archaeologists wanting to enter the world of underwater archaeology. Additionally, the excavation will be open to the participation of sport divers that already cooperate in making the underwater archaeological maps of Menorca.
Promotion of Menorca’s underwater cultural heritage
The work and results obtained are sent to Menorcan society in particular and Spanish society in general, with the objective of improving the knowledge about this submerged heritage, which is often unknown and unappreciated.
In order to achieve this, different articles are put together for the local press on Menorca’s underwater archaeology, attempts are made to publish articles about this submerged patrimony in publications with national distributions (press or magazines) and a cycle of conferences are given at different locations on the island aimed at the general public and in particular at those interested in underwater sports.