Despite its rather isolated position in the Mediterranean (together with Corsica), Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian) has a long history of human presence. First settlement occurred somewhere between 450000-150000 years ago, by people from Tuscany, by a landstrip via Corsica. The first significant Sardinian civilisation was the Nuragic civilisation, which existed between 1700 BC and 500BC (although some part of the culture appears to have survived as long as 500AD, if I understand correctly). At least we can say it arose in the Bronze Age period.
Although this civilisation has left Sardegna with several types of remains (amongst which Tombe dei Giganti or Giant’s graves), the nuraghi stand out as most notable and numerous. These are megalithic towers, composed of large, seemingly unprocessed rocks which are piled on to each other without the use of mortar of any sort, with a truncated cone-shape. There are approximately 7000 nuraghi on Sardegna, varying from simple single-tower structures to multi-tower complexes, sometimes associated with houses that form a village around it. They had either a defensive or a religious function.
The Nuraghe Su Nuraxi di Barumini is the most complex and extensive example, with numerous remains of housing still to be seen around the central stronghold. It has therefore been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. We will definitely come back to this site in a later blog post…
We take you through some of the Nuraghi we came across. For us, they were striking landmarks and it was always fun to search for them in the landscape, especially in the Western part of the island, where there are many. It was especially interesting to observe the different shapes and different stages of conservation of these structures.
1. Su Nuraxi di Barumini (Barumini)
2. Nuraghe Losa (Abbasanta)
3. Nuraghe Santu Antine (Torralba)
4. Nuraghe Majori (Tempio Pausania)
5. Unknown nuraghe 1 (near Abbasanta)
6. Nuraghe di Sante Sabina (near Ottana)
(thanks for the tip, Stefano Cannas!)
Finally, I would like to add that these structures really resembled the Brochs which I saw on the Shetland Islands, which are also prehistoric (Iron Age) truncated towers. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of these structures.