“Su Nuraxi Barumini” Archaeological Area 0 Comments

 “Su Nuraxi Barumini” Archaeological Area

Near to the Giara, in central-southern Sardinia, stands the par excellence symbol of the Nuragic civilization, Su Nuraxi Barumini, a Nuragic village, the most impressive (and best preserved) among the thirty Nuragic sites of Barumini, as well as the most important legacy that the civilization "of the towers" has left us.

We remember that "nuraghe" means "pile of stones and cavities", and indicates an architecture with turreted walls. To date, over 7000 nuraghi have been registered throughout the island (including single towers and complex nuraghi) and around thirty of them appear in the Barumini area.

As we had previously written in the article of the Giara's plateau & its wild horses, "Sa Jara" in Sardinian, in the province of Medio Campidano, is a 244 km car drive that can be done in three hours from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites. It is a bit long journey but it is truly worth it, being the only Sardinian site classified by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1997.

The majestic site was entirely excavated between 1950 and 1957, under the supervision of the archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu, a "father" of Sardinian archaeology, bringing to light important remains of tools, weapons, pottery and ornamental objects.

Su Nuraxi Barumini, all in basalt, a volcanic stone from the nearby Giara Park, has a stratification of two thousand years, from the 16th century BC. to the 7th century AD. A central fortified tower and four corner towers connected by a bastion, with about fifty huts all around, wells and cisterns, constituting the complex. It is one of the largest Nuragic villages in Sardinia.

Initially it was a four-lobed nuraghe, meaning with a bastion of four corner towers plus a central one, dating back to the 16th-14th century BC, subsequently the settlement developed between the 13th and 6th centuries BC.

The walls are made of overlapping stone blocks and the doors and windows are slightly inclined in order to reduce the light and the risk of the architrave to break, which happened more often in the centre and less at the sides, because they knew that the architraves may break in the centre.

As always in Nuragic archaeology, what the functions of the nuraghe were remains a hypothesis: a lookout tower to monitor cultivated fields and herds of cattle, but also part of a religious complex.

to Giovanni Lilliu, the number of huts varies from 40 to 200, assuming between 100 and 1000 inhabitants. Among the huts dug up, the largest and most complex is the one reserved for the chief's meetings, then there is the hut reserved for the assemblies of the inhabitants, but perhaps also for religious rites given that religious symbols were found. Other environments may have been workshops, kitchens and agricultural processing centres. Subsequently, in the early Iron Age (9th-8th century BC) sewers and roads were built.

During the 6th century BC, Su Nuraxi Barumini suffered from disintegration and was subsequently rebuilt first by the Carthaginians, then by the Romans and then definitively abandoned because in the 5th century BC. when two different cultures met, which was followed by a progressive decline of the settlement with a resulting demographic decline.

In the 1990s during the restoration work on Casa Zapata, residence of the Sardinian-Aragonese barons, from the mid-1500s, located above the Nuragic complex. Another Nuragic complex came to light: Su Nuraxi 'e Cresia. The protection and the valorisation, with the aim of promoting these exceptional complexes, is entrusted to the “Barumini Culture System Foundation”, which today is also taking advantage of the opening of the new “Communication and Promotion Centre of Cultural Heritage” dedicated to the archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu. 

“No other expression from antique island architecture, or even from times closer to us, reveals the sense of power, majesty, solidarity and monumental effort, religiosity that appears in Nuragic buildings”. (Giovanni Lilliu)


Written by Daniela Toti

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