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Minorica, island of basilicas: Research and valorisation of the early Christian heritage of Menorca (Balearics) (4th-10th centuries). (2018-2022)

The Early Christian heritage of Minorca (Balearic Islands) comprises, among other elements, a good number of rural basilicas that are the main inheritance of a historical period dated between the 4th and the 10th century AD. The presence of a number of basilicas in a relatively small area such as the island of Minorca, allows a project of comprehensive valorisation, where all these cultural heritage elements could be treated as a unit and under a same discourse. The main motivation of this project is to create the foundations for a complete reassessment and valorisation of the Early Christian heritage of the island. This is proposed as an ambitious but feasible research project through the application of new technologies and a major focus on the enhancement of this heritage.

The scientific goals are designed to solve some of the issues still unsolved by archaeological research: diachronic evolution, extension, functionality of the structures attached to the buildings of worship, relationship of these sites with the rest of the territory. To this end, the project uses geophysical methods and techniques of archaeological excavation; several techniques coming from the experimental sciences for the study of the materials recovered; and Information and Communication Technologies in order to understand these buildings in its territorial and historical context and, more broadly, in the context of the Western Mediterranean. The project has a clear heritage commitment as it aims to provide essential information for the proper protection and management as well as the valorisation of the Early Christian heritage as a whole to convey his importance and uniqueness to the society.

Research Team

Principal Investigators: Miguel Ángel Cau Ontiveros (ICREA/ERAAUB) and Catalina Mas Florit (ERAAUB)

Remote Sensing, Geophysics and Landscape: Miguel Ángel Cau (ICREA/ERAAUB), Catalina Mas (ERAAUB), Sam Turner (Newcastle University), Alex Turner (Newcastle University), Eulàlia Pares (CTTC), Eduard Angelats (CTTC), Francesc Cecília (University of Cambridge), Cornelius Meyer (Eastern Atlas), Roger Sala (SOT Archaeological Prospection), Helena Ortiz (SOT Archaeological Prospection).

Archaeological excavations: Miguel Ángel Cau, ICREA, ERAAUB/UB, Catalina Mas (ERAAUB), Bartomeu Vallori Márquez (ERAAUB), Joan Tuset i Estany (ERAAUB), Students and volunteers.

Study of the material culture and application of analytical techniques: Miguel Ángel Cau Ontiveros, Evanthia Tsantini (ERAAUB), Alessandra Pecci (ERAAUB), Leandro Fantuzzi (ERAAUB), Domenico Miriello (Università della Calabria).

Consolidation and Restoration: Muns Anglada

3D Reconstructions, documentaries: Bartomeu Vallori (ERAAUB), Carlo Cestra

Coordination in Menorca: Pedro Engel (Associació Amics de l’Illa de l’Hospital)

Scientific advisors: National: Josep Amengual i Batle, Josep Maria Gurt i Esparraguera (ERAAUB), Margarita Orfila Pons (Universidad de Granada), Gisela Ripoll López(ERAAUB), Francesc Tuset Bertran (ERAAUB). International: Philipe Pergola (CNRS and Istituto Pontificio di Roma), Pier Giorgio Spanu, (Università degli Studi di Sassari), Enrico Zanini (Università degli Studi di Siena)

Funding: Consell Insular de Menorca.