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Archaeological secrets of Almallutx

Moorish settlement

The little settlement of Almallutx dates back to the 13th century when the Moors who had occupied Mallorca for many years took refuge in a secure and almost hidden place after the Christian reconquest of the island by King Jaime I.

The Muslims lived here in a valley between the high peaks of the Sierra Tramuntana from 1229 to 1232 when they were finally expelled from the Mallorca by the King and his ruthless Knights Templar, religious merceneries and bankers who owned vast tracts of Mallorcan land.

Needless to say, the Moors left many traces of their occupation in Almallutx and various artefacts still resurface from time to time. However the investigations of the Almallutx site, which you won't find on Google Street View, are hampered by its geographical location – underwater!

Where Almallutx once stood, in a deep valley, is now completely submerged by the waters of the Gorg Blau, the enormous reservoir which supplies Palma's drinking water. It's only in the high summer when high demand and lack of rainfall reduce the level of water in the reservoir and make archaeological investigation possible.

Not only is investigating the site a laborious process, but the reconstruction of the finds made takes even longer. A clay jar which was discovered in pieces in 2012 has just been restored for display in the Mallorca Museum.

The jar, measuring 60 x 90 cms, took so long to reconstruct because of its age and decades long submersion under water. At first it was believed to be a container for liquids but scientific analysis revealed a different purpose. The smell of rancid oil, and the presence of saffron, oil and citrus juice revealed it to be a container used for preserving meat by the Muslims in this epoch before refrigeration.

Isn't that fascinating? Remember, if you wish to see anything of this old settlement, go when it's really dry otherwise all you'll see is water!