The Chronology of the First Settlement of the Balearic Islands


  • Damia Ramis IMEDEA
  • Josep Antoni Alcover IMEDEA; American Museum of Natural History; Seccio d'Espeleologia
  • Jaume Coll Museo Nacional de Ceramica
  • Miquel Trias Seccio d'Espeleologia



Balearic Islands, chronology


The goal of this paper is to establish a solid chronology which spans the earliest human presence in each of the three larger Balearic Islands. For this purpose, a review is undertaken of archaeological evidence and associated absolute dating related to the period before the 2nd millennium Cal BC. Additionally, palaeoecological, sedimentological and palaeocultural evidence for human absence on these islands during the middle Holocene is introduced. The most recent values for ranges of the earliest reliable radiocarbon dates relating to human occupation of the three islands indicate, with p > 95%, human presence on Mallorca before 2030 cal BC, on Menorca before ca. 1930 Cal BC, and on Eivissa before 1880 Cal BC. On the other hand, the evidence for human absence indicates that, on Mallorca and Menorca the human irruption must have occurred during the 3rd millennium cal BC, whereas on Eivissa it can only be said that this irruption was later than 6th millennium Cal BC.

Author Biographies

Damia Ramis, IMEDEA

Damia Ramis read History (BA 1998) at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB). He currently holds a predoctoral fellowship in the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, granted by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology, for dissertation research on faunal aspects of the first human colonization of the island of Mallorca.

Josep Antoni Alcover, IMEDEA; American Museum of Natural History; Seccio d'Espeleologia

Josep Antoni Alcover, zoologist and palaeontologist of the IMEDEA, is leading a research team devoted to the study of insular fossil vertebrates from the Balearic Islands, including their last occurrence.

Jaume Coll, Museo Nacional de Ceramica

Jaume Coll is Director of the National Ceramics Museum in Spain.

Miquel Trias, Seccio d'Espeleologia

Miquel Trias is a speleologist and explorer. In his long career in the Balearic Islands, he has discovered and studied some of the most important archaeological deposits of the Middle Ages, and a significant number of noteable prehistoric deposits.



How to Cite

Ramis, D., Alcover, J. A., Coll, J., & Trias, M. (2002). The Chronology of the First Settlement of the Balearic Islands. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 15(1), 3–24.