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Sant Francesc cemetery included in 2021-2022 graves plan

foto 2020 pla fosses A first dig at the new Sant Francesc Xavier cemetery is programmed as part of the Balearic government’s 2021-2022 Civil War Graves Action Plan — a plan approved 19 November by the regional technical commission on graves and disappeared persons, of which the Eivissa-Formentera Forum for Memory is a member. Local application of the CWGAP was at the centre of a presentation today by the island’s heritage chief, Raquel Guasch, and regional secretary of democratic heritage and good governance Jesús Jurado. The gathering also saw the attendance of Consell de Formentera deputy chair Ana Juan and historian Antoni Ferrer.

The potential number of victims and area of disinterment mean efforts at the new Sant Francesc cemetery are among the most sizeable of those currently envisioned. The plans were added to the third programme of exhumations after research by Antoni Ferrer determined 58 deaths had occurred between 1941 and 1942 at the local prison and highlighted three zones of the Sant Francesc cemetery where victims’ remains may lie.

Based on research and witness accounts, Ferrer’s report describes inhumane conditions at the insalubrious and overcrowded Formentera camp, where lack of food was widespread and frequently gave way to death by starvation.

Ferrer used previously overlooked documentary sources to calculate the exact number of deaths at the Formentera prison. Where peers had relied on archives from the civil registry and death records in the Sant Francesc Xavier parish, Ferrer enlisted the Consell de Formentera’s own files from the administrative office of the courts and local census documents, ultimately corroborating the deaths of 58 individuals.

Councillor Guasch praised the Balearic government for its “clear efforts to recover this chapter of our history and restore the dignity of victims”, adding that to do so was “a matter of basic importance if we aspire to be an advanced, civilised society and to heal long open wounds”. She also applauded the historical research of Mr Ferrer. The councillor asserted a similar undertaking was in order at the former prison, where it would be necessary to “restore dignity to the site and come to terms with this chapter of our past”.

Burial site
Ferrer explains that the new municipal cemetery’s 1940 opening came just months before the first documented death at the Formentera prison in April the following year. If direct accounts of prisoner burials remain elusive, Ferrer did uncover two corresponding secondary accounts pointing to two quadrants in the western part of the cemetery which were completed in 1938. Based on the documents consulted, Ferrer concludes that Catholic rites were observed for the burials, but says the historical record doesn’t permit knowledge of whether the graves were marked.

New details about the deceased aren’t the study’s only novelty: transcripts of the local census and processing data have made it possible for Ferrer to substantiate the presence of approximately 1,500 prisoners at the local prison.

Recent digs
Seventeen graves have been excavated across the Balearic Islands since 2014. Following efforts in Sant Joan (2014), Porreres (2016, 2020) and Sant Ferran (Formentera, 2017), the 2018 action plan dictated excavations at Alaró, Marratxí, Sencelles, Calvià, Ses Figueretes, Llucmajor, Santa Maria, Montuïri, Pou de s’Àguila (Llucmajor) and Pou de Son Lluís (Porreres). A subsequent 2019-2020 action plan brought additional operations at Son Coletes, Manacor, Bunyola, Coll d’Artà and Valldemossa. Follow-up efforts have been carried out at Sencelles, Porreres, Ses Figueretes, Pou de Son Lluís and Santa Maria.

29 December 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Formentera in spotlight for new Consell-backed edition of Pine Islands’ folk songbook

foto OCFThe Formentera Heritage Department has partnered with editor Jaume Escandell Guasch to publish a Formentera-specific volume of a folk song repertory whose story stretches back to 1928, when Baltasar Samper i Ramon Morey put out the original Obra del Cançoner Popular de Catalunya (“Popular Catalan Songbook”).

After close-ups on Sant Josep de sa Talaia (dir: Isidor Marí) and Sant Antoni de Portmany (Cati Marí Serra), the third installation in the “Pine Islands Songbook—1928” series features Isidor Marí’s return to coordinating duties and turns the spotlight on Formentera.

Heritage councillor Raquel Guasch congratulated Cançoner’s authors on their “exhaustive cataloguing of island culture at its most essential” and asserted, “This brings us closer to our roots through popular hometown music”.

In addition to an extensive collection of song lyrics documented by Baltasar Samper on Formentera between 15 and 18 September 1928, the volume also contains musical annotations by the author as well as thirty original photos of interview subjects and sites which struck Samper as eye-catching.

The physical documentation produced by Samper’s original 1928 mission in the Pine Islands is today kept at the Biblioteca de Montserrat. The Catalan government’s CDCPT holds the documents in their digital format.

Volume 10 of the “Popular Catalan Songbook”, put out in 2000 by Abadia de Montserrat Publishing, included a limited selection of texts and photographs, but the current edition constitutes the first-ever exhaustive release of Samper’s collected research.

The Formentera edition of the “Pine Islands Songbook” cost approximately €3,500 to put together and will be available in book stores. As ever, the edition had the support of the Consell de Formentera, Consell d’Eivissa, the town councils of Eivissa and the Balearic government.

21 December 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Consell studies showcasing researchers’ findings at Cap de Barbaria II dig site

foto 2020 jaciment es cap 2The Formentera Heritage Department reports that plans currently under review for museum-style displays at the dig site known as Cap de Barbaria II where archaeologists have worked since November.

Heritage councillor Raquel Guasch said operations at Cap de Barbaria II and “Cave 127” in La Mola started 2012, and revealed local government was looking into the archaeologists’ suggestion that Formentera mark the undertaking and showcase local history by fitting the site with informational displays.

The project springs from a partnership between Consell de Formentera and Cantabrian International Institute of Prehistoric Research (IIIPC) for R&D+i aimed at promoting local work on prehistoric archaeology. Researchers are studying the “archaeology of death” and the paleogenetics of Formentera’s prehistoric inhabitants compared with other western Mediterranean peoples of the Bronze Age.

“Incredibly successful” operation
Dr Pau Sureda, a leader of the research team and researcher for the High Council of Scientific Research’s Institute of Heritage Sciences, described the Cap de Barbaria II dig as “incredibly successful” and highlighted the full restoration of a naviform chamber, the southern entrance of the settlement and part of the surrounding wall. “Work has involved restoring and consolidating structures at the settlement, and continue to uncover valuable insight into what life was like for Formentera’s Bronze Age peoples”, said the archaeologist.

In the short term, the team hopes to continue restoration efforts and put the final touches on a plan to present findings in an on-site exhibit fully accessible to islanders.

On 20 November, the archaeologists gave an overview of recent efforts at a talk at Centre d’Esports Nàutics. The project has enjoyed additional collaboration from the Museu Arqueològic d’Eivissa i Formentera, Trasmapi, the Abel Matutes foundation and Sea Experience.

4 December 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Archaeologists share findings from dig in La Mola

foto 2020 campanya arqueo la molaAt 7.00pm on Friday 20 November, the Formentera Heritage Department invites islanders to the Centre d’Esports Nàutics (CENF) for a presentation of findings from the archaeological dig currently under way at “Cova 127” in La Mola.

Lead scientists Edgard Camarós and Pau Sureda will report on research performed at a site they say dates back the Bronze Age. The endeavour, which extends to a site in Es Cap de Barbaria, is part of a partnership between the Consell de Formentera and Cantabria’s International Institute of Pre-historic Research (IIRPC).

Space is limited and reservations required (patrimoni@conselldeformentera.cat).

12 November 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Winter hours take effect at Formentera’s heritage sites

foto 2020 moli vell la molaThe Formentera Patrimony Department announces new winter hours in place for public visits at local heritage sites. Visiting hours will also resume from November to May at the “Old La Mola Windmill” (molí Vell de la Mola) — a landmark over which the Consell reclaims control in 2020 in an effort to guarantee year-round access.

The following hours will be kept from November to May:

Molí Vell de la Mola: Saturday and Sunday from 10.00am to 2.00pm. Free admission.

Formentera Ethnographic Collection: Tuesday to Friday from 9.00am to 2.00pm. Free admission.

Torre des Pi des Català: Visits must be scheduled in advance by emailing patrimoni@conselldeformentera.cat. Free admission.

Restoration work
Work is currently being done to restore assorted parts of the windmill apparatus. Since pine pieces deteriorate naturally when exposed to the elements and the wind’s mechanical force, upgrades and maintenance were deemed necessary on two poorly preserved wooden sweeps.

In the interest of visitor safety and to determine necessary repairs, crews disassembled the monument’s interior wholesale before beginning restoration work.

In 2020 the Consell reached a rental agreement with the windmill’s owner, the Balearic Islands Foundation, giving local government control over the premises and opening hours for six Local councilmembers passed a measure at the November full-house assembly classing the monument as a cultural interest site.

11 November 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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Xarxa de Biblioteques

Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics

Enciclopèdia d'Eivissa i Formentera