Travel in the time machine to discover the ancient Ibiza.
Visiting Ibiza and not going up to Dalt Vila or the Punic necropolis of Puig des Molins is like traveling to Rome and not visiting the Colosseum or, to give a closer example, spending a weekend in Granada and not visiting the Alhambra. The island is world famous for its ‘temples’ of techno music and for its beautiful beaches. However, there are other almost unnoticed tourist attractions nobody should miss, such as the necropolis of Puig des Molins, the largest archaeological site of the Pityusan. The five hectares that have been preserved from its original surface now make it the most important Punic cemetery in the western Mediterranean. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999.
History and archeology lovers will enjoy like children discovering the necropolis and the magnificent collection that the monographic museum of Puig des Molins houses. At To Visit Ibiza, we recommend signing up for the monthly theatrical visits organised by the museum. They are totally free and the actors that take part in them belong to both the Amics of the Archaeological Museum of Eivissa and Formentera’s Association and the Association Pitusa of Historical Recreation, Iboshim.
We went to this year’s first visit which took place last 26th February, and we guarantee that it is worth it. Thanks to the actors’ great performance and the guide’s comments, the historian Carmen Mezquida, we got into a time machine that took us on a tour around some moments in the history of this ‘city of the dead’. In a very amusing way we got to know the funerary rites in Phoenician, Punic and Roman times, the history of this space and the continuous looting that has suffered over time. In addition, we were able to enter one of the hypogeos, which were excavations in the rock that ancient civilizations, like the Phoenicians, used as a burial place. In Puig des Molins, it is estimated that there are up to 3,500 hypogeos, out of which only 600 have been discovered by archaeologists, the latest in 2006. Only one intact tomb has been found, with tidal sarcophagi and funerary furnishings. The rest have been looted.
This cemetery, located on a small hill about 500 m west of the ancient city of Ibiza, was established in the 7th century BC, together with the first Phoenician settlement on the island. By then, people who died would be burned and their ashes be stored in graves excavated in the earth or carved in the rock. The Punic settlers, 100 years later, introduced another rite, the burial, which consisted in burying the deceased in the hypogeum without incinerating them. In the theatrical visit we were able to see a live ritual, with a priest, the mourners and the family accompanying the deceased. We also traveled to the Roman period and there we all participated in a funeral banquet, the ‘silicon’. Then came the time to speak of barbarians, Byzantines and Muslims, who continued to bury their dead in this necropolis until 1235, when the Catalan conquered the island. Over the centuries, Puig des Molins was given other uses. In the sixteenth century it was thought to be used as a quarry to build the wall. At the beginning of the 20th century, the peasants used this land to grow cereal and fruit trees. It was then, in 1903, when the Ebusian Archaeological Society began the first archaeological excavations. Then the monographic museum was built, a project devised in the 1930s and finally realised in the 1960s.
Until recently, it was a place of play and fun for children and grown-ups alike who would sneak in their hipogeos in search of exciting adventures. Adventures as such that you will have the occasion to revive now with these theatrical visits or the experimental archeology workshops for the young ones, beginning at Easter. You can consult the agenda of activities of the museum and the necropolis of Puig des Molins here: www.maef.es
THEATRALIZED VISITS 2018
When: The last or penultimate Sundays of each month. Next visits in 2018:
Place: Monographic Museum of Puig des Molins (Via Romana 31, Ibiza)
Duration: 1.30 hrs approx.
Number of places: 25 approx. (With prior reservation)
Information and reservations: Tel. +34 971 399232
Story Told By Maite Alvite