The Oschiri’s Rocky Altar Of Santo Stefano  0 Comments

The Oschiri’s Rocky Altar Of Santo Stefano 

If you have a preference for archaeological sites, so typical of Sardinia, where you may feel the magic of ancestral atmospheres in the most absolute way, where the eye embraces history and history embraces you, then, just outside the centre of Oschiri town, 60 minutes drive from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel and Suites, you will find is what you are looking for. The whole area is surrounded by Neolithic settlements, several Domus de Janas (discover what they are here: Treasures of magic origin: the "Janas" of Sardinia), vestiges of the Nuraghe (read about the Nuraghi: Ancient Heritage Of Sardinia) and rock carvings. What the engravings and inscriptions conceal, if they were linked to ancient ceremonies, why they were created, what message they wanted to leave us, it is still unknown to us and perhaps it is precisely this reason where their mysterious charm originates.

The Rocky Altar of Santo Stefano is right in front of and named after, the church of Santu Istevene (Santo Stefano in Italian and Saint Steven in English), built more recently. That the altar was a sacred place is undoubted, as so much the "sacredness" of the place is still detectable. It is an enormous block of granite of about 10 meters, in which triangular, round and square niches have been hollowed out, numerous cupels, variously combined among them. The engraved "images" have no similarities elsewhere and this makes any decryption difficult. The whole area is surrounded by marks of being inhabited since ancient times. Among the necropolis of the Domus de Janas of Malghesi and the church of Santo Stefano, beyond the Rupestrian Altar, there is one rock with three square niches, one rock with twelve concentric cupels that form a circle with a thirteenth central cupel, one rock with two triangular grooves and the one they call "Meridiana" (sundial) composed of two circular hollows these also with twelve cupels around a central one, forming a circle.

On what was the real function of the Rupestrian Altar there are various hypotheses: that it was the place where the shaman women gave birth, or where the "stripping" of the dead was practised, (a funeral rite of the Neolithic and megalithic period, which consisted in set the corpses on top of  the channelled stones, easing the draining of the liquids, and left under the sun until the flesh around the bone was removable and allowing the bones free to be buried). But according to studies carried out by scholars such as Mauro Zedda and Professor Michael Hoskin, considered one of the fathers of archeoastronomy, the function of the site might be used for astronomy purposes, as are the many Nuraghe and Tombs of Giants. They are assuming that these monuments are linked to solar and lunar cults, given their positioning in accordance with winter and summer solstices or minor and major lunistices. That this unique Rock Altar is related to an astronomical use in just increasing its appeal due to its azimuthal coordinates!

Being able to participate in a magical "night under the stars" at the Rocky Altar with scholar Giorgio Pala, could not only be very interesting but also make you richer with ineffable sensations.

Astrology is one of the earliest attempts made by man to find the order hidden behind or within the confusing and apparent chaos that exists in the world.” (Karen Hamaker-Zondag)


Written by Daniela Toti


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