As a follow-up of my two recent articles on traditional quarrying of sandstone and soapstone, here is an exciting film about manual extraction of Piedra de Marés at Menorca. Marés is a soft, yellowish biocalcarenite (calcareous sandstone), widely used since Prehistory and characterising the traditional architecture on the Balearic Islands.
Watch “Piedra de Marés”
There are many abandoned Marés quarries at Menorca, Mallorca and Ibiza. Most are small, having been used for local purposes only, but some few are big, like the s’Hostal quarries in Ciutadella. These quarries were worked manually with pickaxes until the middle of the 20th century; from then on sawing took over until the quarries closed in 1994.
You can visit the quarries: s’Hostal is under preservation by the cultural organisation Líthica, which organises tours and uses the quarries for performances such as films, concerts, dancing and theme festivals in the summer months.
Thanks to Peter Völkle for hinting me about the quarry film.
- About Marés at Wikipedia (German and Spanish)
- The Líthica organisation
- Visiting the s’Hostal quarries
- Very interesting article on traditional knowledge about Marés – knowledge that is now vanishing, unfortunately (German)
And see pictures of the s’Hostal quarries at Wikimedia Commons!
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We too have visited the quarries on the Island of Menorca and are lucky enough to be renovating a small traditional building in Es Castells. I have looked everywhere for information on how to seal the mares stone as we would like to expose the beautiful stone internally which the locals seem intent on covering. Do you have any advise on how to treat it without impacting its beauty?
Hi! And sorry for the somewhat late reply. We are moving at the moment… It might be that the Mares stone is not the perfect one to be completely sealed, due to its high porosity. But, who knows, perhaps there are local guys who know much more about such matters than I do. As you say, the trouble is how to find the expertise! Keep on trying and good luck!
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