Archeology

Arzachena area

This is an important archaeological area that boasts some archaeological remains of remarkable interest belonging to the so-called Arzachena culture. Taking the road from Arzachena to Luogosanto, the spots of Capichera, Coddu Ecchju and Li Muri are indicated by a series of touristic markers after a few kilometres.
Numerous Giants’ Tombs are situated here. The Li Muri tomb is the most majestic in Sardinia while the Coddu Ecchju present a particularly camplete structure. Going back to Arzachena, three kilometers down the road to Olbia, the Albucciu nuraghe of a ‘corridor’ type can be found. Finally, on the right side of the same road it is possible to visit a little nuraghic temple called Malchittu.

Anghelu Ruju and Palmavera nuraghe

The domus de ianas necropolis of Anghelu Ruju on the Alghero-Porto Torres road is the most important concentration of this type of sepulchres typical of the Ozieri culture. The nuraghe Palmavera, on the other hand, rises above the roadstead of Porta Conte road and is reachable via the Alghero-Porto Conte provincial road. This is a characteristic building resulting from a series of subsequent building interventions from before the year 1000 to the 8th Century is why it is decidedly different from ‘conventional’ nuraghi.

The altar of Monte d’Accoddi

Along the state road from Sassari to Porto Torres, at 11 kilometres from Sassari there is a little unpaved road that leads to this peculiar monument, unique of its kind in all the Mediterranean basin, that is similar to the ziqqurath of the Middle East Mediterranean. It is a big open-air temple consisting of an artificial mound shaped like a truncated pyramid, whose sides are about 30 mt each while the original height reached approx. 10 mt. Worth of mention, among various other Roman remains in Porto Torres, are the aqueduct of Tito Flavio Justino, the thermae and the basilica together with the tribunal and the bridge.

Santu Antine nuraghe (Nuraghic Royal Palace of Torralba)

This is the highest, most beautiful nuraghe in Sardinia which today reaches almost 18 metres but originally must have reached at least 22 metres. It is situated along the Sassari-Cagliari motorway in the vicinity of Torralba and is clearly indicated by tourist markers. The visit is particularly advisable and will surely be very interesting. This majestic complex rises 35 meters on each side and includes a series of dark narrow corridors, stairways and circular rooms.

Dorgali area

The Dorgali territory is also very rich in nuraghic evidence. The Motorra dolmen is very dose to Dorgali and is reachable by following the state road to Orosei. This dolmen is dated between 2000 and 1600 B.C. Around the same road, a short detour leads to the cave of Ispinigoli. At the bottom of this pit various objects such as drift pins, earrings and bracelets from the nuraghic age were found. Though the visit to Ispinigoli does not offer any actual archaelogical sight, it is highly recommended for the beauty of the cave. A visit to the remains of Serra Orrias village, rising in the vicinity of Dorgali along the road to Lula, is essential far the knowledge of the nuraghic civilization. Two little temples, different groups of huts, and a giant’s tomb have been dug up.
Going on to Lula, the little funerary cave of Tinnias, of the domus de janas type is situated on the righthand side immediately after the crossroad with the Nuoro-Orosei state road. Along the same road the giant’s tomb of S’Ena e Thomes that traces back to 1500-1200 B.C. is visible from afar.

Nuraghe Santa Barbara and San Lorenzo di Silanus Church

Following the Sassari-Cagliari motorway to the area of Macomer, it is possible to see the beautiful nuraghe of Santa Barbara which is a goad example of harmonious integration to the surrounding landscape. A few kilometres away, in the vicinity of Silanus, the little Romanesque church of San Lorenzo shelters in its courtyard six ‘betili’ (conical ritual stones over one metre high) coming from the surrounding area.

Domus dejanas of Sant’Andrea Priu

In the vicinity of Bonovra there are twenty of the most beautiful domus de janas in the islands that date back approximately to the third millenium B.C. They form a realistic imitation of the abodes of that time and they are considered to be among the finest examples of funerary architecture.

Losa di Abbasanta nuraghe

Easily reachable by getting off the Sassari-Cagliari motorway, it is perfectly visible at the exit to the town of Abbasanta. Clearly indicated by tourist markers, its grandeur, architectural complexity and state of preservation make it particularly interesting. The tower is about 13 mt high and has an external diameter of 12.5 mt. The walls, big squared blocks covered with brown moss, are about 2 mt thick.

The sacred weIl of Santa Cristina

This well is reachable by following the Sassari-Cagliari motorway just a few kilometres past Paulilatino. It is one of the best specimen of a nuraghic well-temple, where the cult of healing waters was practised. Around this area are the remains of a large sanctuary whose dimensions are only surpassed by the one in Santa Vittoria di Serri.

The Punic-Roman city of Tharros

A few kilometers from Oristano at the top of the Sinis peninsula, rise the remains of the big Punic and subsequently Roman city of Tharros. This is one of the most important centres in all of Sardinia, and was discovered in 1851 by an English archaeologist, who brought to light 14 intact tombs full of golden jewels and gems (which brought about a colossal treasure hunt by the local people, whose final booty can be calculated in the range of several billion lire at today’s value). The beautiful roads and two large temples, one of them monolithic (dug up in only one huge block of sandstone) catch the eye among the various remains.

The nuraghic fortress of Barumini

The Royal Palace of Barumini, situated 60 km away from Cagliari, is by far the most important nuraghic monument. This is a complex of exceptional dimensions consisting of a castle and a vast village. The central tower is nowdays 14 m high but probably reached over 18 m at one time. Around the central keep, approximately fifty huts with wells, ovens, hearths and oil-mills, give an idea of life in the village. It is calculated that the city of Barumini ceased to exist between the 5th and 3rd Centuries B.C. Going back towards Cagliari, the itinerary can be completed by visiting the above mentioned sanctuary of Santa Vittoria and the tombs of Pranu Muteddu, near Goni.

The Antas Temple

Sixteen kilometres away from Iglesias, along the road to Fluminimaggiore, a detour along a small unpaved road leads to the remains of the evocative Antas temple, an isolated monument in the countryside dedicated by the Phoenician Punics to Adon Sid addir Baby, fertility and hunting God, son of Tanit, and by the Romans to a local nuraghic divinity called Sardopastoris Fanum. The small temple, set in uncontaminated surroundings, is well worth a visit for its evocative beauty.

The Punic city of Sulci

In the vicinity of the city of Sant’Antioco on the homonymous isle, are the remains of Sulci, one of the main Phoenician and Punic ports. The two great necropolises and the tophet, the remains of a sacrifice ground dedicated to the Goddess Tanii, should not be missed. An adjacent antiquarium shelters the finds of the isle.

The Phoenician-Punic fortress of Monte Sirai

Five kilometres from the coastline facing Sant’Antioco, on a panoramic hill some kilometres away from Carbonia, are situated the remains of the most imposing Phoenician-Punic fortress in Sardinia. The town-planning and the construction of the single dwellings can easily be made out. The necropolis and a simple tophet can also be visited. The fortress of Monte Sirai sheltered as many as 5-6000 soldiers.

The Punic-Roman city of Nora

The Roman city of Nora, a few kilometres from Pula (Cagliari) was also built on a pre-existing Punic area, but is almost entirely characterised by Roman remains. The visit to the city (that partly slopes down to the sea) will take from an hour to an hour and a half and will reach its spectacular climax in the theatre and the thermae. Well worth a special mention are the gorgeous mosaics of Nora.

Punic and Roman Cagliari

Ancient Karalis still preserves many remains of Punic and Roman civilizations, from the necropolis of Tuvixeddu to the Roman ampitheatre, from the Roman villa of Trigellio, to the Grotta della Vipera.

Manlio Brigaglia
From Sardegna Tourist Guide published by ESIT.