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Culture and Historical heritage

Consell de Formentera hails unprecedented undersea find

foto troballa 2019 1The Consell de Formentera’s president and patrimony councillor, Alejandra Ferrer and Raquel Guasch, laid out details today about an archaeological find made this August in waters near es Caló and that experts are calling extraordinary and groundbreaking. Figuring among the haul are eleven swords resembling 19th-century straight sabres. President Ferrer and Councillor Guasch were joined at the presentation by Javier Rodríguez Pandozi, marine archaeologist and president of the Balearic Institute of Marine Archaeology Studies (IBEAM) and Manel Guasch, captain of the vessel involved in finding the first sabre.

Ferrer heralded the discovery as a regional first and applauded the islanders and companies that helped in retrieval. “These artefacts will enter into Formentera’s catalogue of historical heritage”, said the president. “For now they’ll be kept among the holdings of the Eivissa-Formentera Museum of Archaeology [MAEF]”, she explained, “but we’ll see them back here just as soon as we have a museum properly equipped to receive them”.

For her part, Councillor Guasch underscored collaboration—between the local government and MAEF as well as on the part of islanders—not to mention efforts from within the Consell to coordinate an “emergency preventive intervention to ensure the objects were kept safe”.

A fortuitous find

15 August, as Manel Guasch and Guillermo de Barnola sought to retrieve an object that had fallen overboard, the pair identified what at first appeared to be a modern-day sword. They immediately reported the find to Comandància de Marina and the Consell de Formentera—the latter having authority over issues of historical heritage—and took the sword to MAEF, the entity charged with taking in and caring for archaeological items.

From 26 to 29 August, a team of divers from the underwater operations division of the Civil Guard visited the site together with an archaeologist from IBEAM, which has been engaged in efforts to complete an undersea archaeological map for Formentera. The dive gave rise to the discovery of a new group of similar objects—all with characteristics typical of early-19th-century straight sabres

After viewing an IBEAM-drafted report that included proposed strategies moving ahead, Consell officials signed off on an emergency archaeological intervention to guarantee the safekeeping of the objects and potentially locate other artefacts.

Conducted on 31 August and 1 September by two archaeologists and an IBEAM restorer, the emergency intervention involved salvaging ten subsequently identified sabres.

The objects will be sent to MAEF, where they will be held pursuant to Law 12/1998 (21 December) on historical heritage and Decree 14/2011 (25 February) on standards for archaeological interventions in the Balearic Islands.

Considering the unique nature of such archaeological artefacts in the Pityusic Islands, MAEF has offered to oversee restoration efforts, though the final conservation and restoration proposal will require close study of the objects’ condition and review of the technical reports produced by the emergency archaeological interventions.

Rodríguez explained that “with the help of the Civil Guard’s special undersea division, IBEAM will continue conducting archaeological probes in the area to identify any sunken ships that might be tied to the swords”.

Locals pitch in

The assistance of islanders proved essential to documenting and safeguarding the finds. Indeed, details provided by the pair that located the original sabre made possible subsequent efforts to study, authorise and carry out the emergency intervention associated with Formentera’s undersea archaeological map, a Consell de Formentera-led initiative that IBEAM has piloted since 2015.

For that reason, islanders are encouraged to report any information about underwater discoveries of archaeological artefacts to the cultural heritage office of the Consell de Formentera. In this way, such objects can be documented and protected as part of the island’s cultural inheritance.

In addition to help from the undersea division of the Civil Guard and Comandància Naval, both Trasmapi and Formentera Divers provided material support. The two companies have collaborated in the past with various parts of the undersea archaeological map initiative.


16 September 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Consell de Formentera helps publish look at life experiences of local seniors

llibre-2-The Department of Patrimony and the Consell de Formentera are backing the publication of De qui venim (“Who We Come From”), an exploration of the life experiences of elderly Formentera residents directed and coordinated by Dr Josep Maria Garcia-Borés i Espí. Garcia-Borés is a full professor at the psychology department of University of Barcelona, and the study was awarded the Consell de Formentera research grant in 2012.

De qui venim is the first in a collection titled Formentera en estudi (“Studies of Formentera”). The collection was devised as a showcase for recipients of the Consell's grant as well as, pointed out department head Raquel Guasch, other important projects and research probes. Councillor Guasch added that the studies and publications seek to “dig deeper into our understanding of local history and heritage, and leave behind a written trace that won't fade with time”.

De qui venim is being put out by the Josep Massot i Muntaner-directed Abadia de Montserrat publishing house—a big name in science-related publications concerning humanities in Catalan-speaking territories.

Written by Garcia-Borés i Espí and Hermínia Gil i Canales with help from Rita Cardona Ribas and Raquel Gonzàlez Cardona, De qui venim is a “psychocultural study” of traditional Formentera. The project's engineers enlist oral history as they seek to hear elderly islanders talk about lifestyle, community and identity in Formentera before the arrival of tourism. The study touches on questions like subjects' emotional health, intergenerational rifts and efforts to protect culture, identity and language.

Five hundred copies will be produced in a €4,800 publishing effort that included design, layout and printing.


12 September 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

La Mola lighthouse's freshly minted cultural space logs nearly 12k visits in opening month

foto-2019-far-la-mola-31Today the Formentera Council Culture Department shared figures for the first month of public visits at the cultural space that the Consell has operated out of la Mola's lighthouse since 1 July.

The building received some twelve thousand visitors in July. Roughly ten thousand people came in the first week alone as part of the open days and free admission to commemorate the site's opening. The remaining 1,973 visits were recorded during the final three weeks of July.

In celebration of World Lighthouse Day today, culture councillor Susana Labrador had a message for locals who hadn't yet stopped by for a visit. “Come see it”, she said, “and learn how Formentera's history is entwined with the sea and lighthouses”.

A monument to civil engineering, la Mola's lighthouse was designed by Emili Pou Bonet and completed in 1861. Today the building houses a space which is devoted to culture and to showcasing Formentera's maritime heritage. It is divided into two clearly distinct exhibition spaces. The permanent exhibition explores its main focus—the sea—from a variety of angles: the marine environment, natural resources management, navigation and light signals. A second space is dedicated to temporary art exhibits.

Exhibit from Erwin Broner
Since 19 July, the temporary gallery has hosted an exhibit from Erwin Broner—Obres del llegat de Gisela Broner a Catalina Verdera Ribas—that will continue through 12 October.

Visiting hours and admission
The far, or lighthouse, as well as the display, are open to visitors from 11.00am to 2.00pm, Tuesday to Sunday, and evenings from 5.00pm to 9.00pm on Wednesdays and Sundays. General admission costs €4.50. Admission is waived for Formentera residents, youth under 18 and the unemployed, and pensioners and students pay €2.50.


7 August 2019
Communication Department
Consell de Formentera

This weekend, Formentera Guitars Festival returns to heat up the Sant Ferran night

festival-guitarres-de-formente1The Department of Culture of the Consell de Formentera reports that the Formentera Guitars Festival will run from Friday to Sunday, 13-15 September. As has become customary, musical performances will take place from 10.00pm to 4.00am Friday and Saturday night in the church-front square in Sant Ferran. Performers include Cesar Crespo, Kelly & The Jam Factory, Glassford & The Providence, Litus, Chimichurri, Alex Schultz & los Peligrosos Gentelmen, Bobby Alexander and Monsters of Palma.

As ever, each evening will conclude with a jam session with the festival's attending musicians. On Sunday 15 September, a 9.30pm jam session at the restaurant Sa Panxa will mark the end of the festival's eleventh year.

A mixture of blues, jazz and rock, Formentera Guitars Festival has evolved into a crucial part of music lovers' September programme. The idea for the on-stage happening hit Formentera Guitars' director, Ekkehard Hoffmann, in 2008, as a way to celebrate the eponymous association's 20-year anniversary. In the words of culture and festivities councillor Susana Labrador, the Consell-backed event is “a not-to-be-missed signpost on Formentera's calendar of cultural events that will strike a chord with tourists and islanders alike”.
 
11 September 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Consell orders probe after historical heritage sites vandalised

The Patrimony department of the Consell de Formentera has initiated an administrative inquiry into damages in recent weeks to a number of the island's historical heritage sites. Recent weeks, which have seen vandals paint the outer walls of the can Ramon building, have also come with the theft of pieces of drystone wall in es cap de Barbaria.

As the title-holder of can Ramon, the Consell is planning on taking the case to the Civil Guard so that a criminal investigation can be opened.

The cultural heritage branch of the Consell condemns the events and wishes to offer its support to affected property-owners. The administration also wants to remind all islanders of our obligation to respect, protect and preserve the island's cultural heritage in order for future generations to enjoy it too. Legislation, Decree 12/1998 (21 December), was enacted to protect the historic heritage of the Balearic Islands.

Pursuant to the decree, articles 321-324 of the Penal Code call for punishments of between 6 months and 3 years of prison, and fines of up to sixty thousand euros, for causing damages to any site deemed valuable from a historical, artistic, scientific, or cultural standpoint, or in its service as a monument.

Protected features
Can Ramon is listed with level C protection in the island's catalogue of cultural heritage sites.

Traditional techniques for building drystone (pedra seca) walls are part of Formentera's intangible cultural heritage. In 2018, Formentera joined other regions of Spain and countries of Europe in including them on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Locally, article 63 of the island's Territorial Strategy (Pla Territorial), recognises these walls' value as ethnographic artefacts, and requires that homes built in rural areas include efforts to maintain and reconstruct such walls as well as any building features using stone.

In varying forms and with varying degrees of protection, Can Ramon and traditional drystone walls both form part of the cultural heritage of Formentera.

11 July 2019
Communication department
Consell de Formentera

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