Sa Caleta

Sa Caleta

THE PHOENICIAN SETTLEMENT AT SA CALETA O LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION OF THE SITE

The Phoenician site at Sa Caleta is located on a small peninsula between the des Codolar beach and the des Jondal hill, in other words, on the southern coast of the island.

On the East side, the outflow of a stream marks out a small port or jetty which is quite well protected from the winds from the North and West. The jetty, which the Phoenicians used, is still in use.

The whole of the coast of the peninsula and especially to the West, has undergone extensive marine erosion. In fact it is possible that since Phoenician times the action of the sea may have destroyed a 50 metre area of coast and a third of the Phoenician settlement.

The urban organization of Sa Caleta as a whole follows a system based on the juxtaposition of estates, unruly in their orientation and between themselves and the cardinal points. Between the various units there were areas for traffic in the form of alleyways in addition to small areas or squares which could be described as communal. In addition there were two circular ovens measuring 2 metres in diameter which were located in the communal areas.

ORGANIZATION AND ECONOMY OF THE SETTLEMENT

For the most part, the estates had hearths of a domestic nature as well as other sites where fires were improvised for the purpose of smelting argentiferous galena. The smelting of this mineral was generalized among the inhabitants of Sa Caleta although other types of metallurgical industry were the subject of greater specialization such as was the case with both iron and bronze. On the other hand there are indications that the Phoenicians at Sa Caleta also carried on agrarian and cattle-raising activities along with fishing and the collection of shellfish and crustaceans. A further economic activity of great importance was the working of the salt flats.

HISTORIC IMPORTANCE

This was an urban-type settlement the size of which could be compared with that of others which were similar in the south of the Iberian peninsula. The origins of the settlement go back to the latter part of the 8th century B.C. although it may be that initially Sa Caleta may have been some kind of provisional and seasonal base for both economic and geographic expeditions in the Pitiusas (Ibiza and Formentera) as well as those exchanges made from the south of the Iberian Peninsula with the eastern and north eastern coasts of the peninsula including the central Mediterranean.

Around the year 600 B.C. the settlement was completely abandoned which, according to the archaeological records, was carried out peacefully and intentionally and, in accordance with archaeological data, it would be possible that the large number of inhabitants of Sa Caleta moved wholesale to the Bay of Ibiza and that from then on, the city emerged which endures to this day. With the Phoenician settlement at Sa Caleta, the Pitiusas went down in the history of modern times as it made direct contact possible for the island with the ways of life of the times.

The Phoenicians brought new and previously unknown concepts to the island such as urban development the potter’s wheel, iron forging as well as writing, among others. The Phoenician site at Sa Caleta was declared a world Heritage site in 1999

The privileged location of the island of Ibiza at the crossroads of western Mediterranean navigation routes was one of the reasons that encouraged occupation by the Phoenicians which took place at Sa Caleta in the 7th century B.C. who began their expansion into peripheral areas of the Straits of Gibraltar with the intention of extending and diversifying areas for accessing resources and raw materials.

The reality is that, for the island of Ibiza, this was a transcendental event which formed the framework for the coming centuries. Their presence allowed the island’s direct contact with other cultures and societies of the time. Finally, it appears that the inhabitants of the settlement moved to the bay of Ibiza to found the city which lives on today.

Later on, the Phoenician settlement of the island gave way to the colonization of all of the island which was carried out by Punic contingents in the second half of the 5th century B.C. The cultural identity between the Phoenician and Punic peoples favoured the maintenance of the view of a unitary identity over the whole of this long historic period which, as a result, is referred to as the Phoenician-Punic era.

An example of the phenomenon of a generalized agrarian colonization of the island is the settlement at Ses Paisses de Cala d’Hort which was documented from the Punic period or more specifically from the final third of the 5th century B.C. This was an agrarian settlement which has continued throughout the history of Ibiza and which was inhabited up to the Byzantine period

Add Comment