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Dolmen, Menhir and Cromlech 0 Comments

Dolmen, Menhir and Cromlech

A few years ago in England, 13 km far from Salisbury, I was fascinated observing Stonehenge, supposed to represent an "ancient astronomical observatory" consisting of megaliths. Stonehenge is undoubtedly the best known megalithic site being highly advertised, but it is surprising to know that in Sardinia, in the northern part of the island, there are some megalithic sites of great attraction. Pranu Mutteddu in Goni, called the Sardinian Stonehenge, is one of the cases.

The term megalith comes from two words of ancient Greek: mégas, (big) and líthos, (stone). A big stone that is called Menhir, a roughly shaped stone set into the ground, and Dolmen, formed by two vertical stones supporting on top a horizontally placed one and finally Cromlech, megalithic circles (also stone circles in English or cromlech from Welsh) which are supposed to have a calendar function of calculating the rising and setting of the sun during the solstices. 

The Is Cirquittus complex of Laconi, (a couple of hours drive, 220 km far from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites), consists of a cromlech and was probably bordered by an alignment of menhir.

The pre-Nuragic populations disseminated the island’s territory of Menhir, in the Sardinian language called "is perdas fittas", (the dense stones), or "perdas litteradas", (literate stones) referring to the carvings present in the stone. Menhirs belong to the pre-Nuragic period and indicate an ethical-religious system during the Copper Age, with figures of male and female deities, perhaps of ancestors, chiefs, heroes and warriors or other figures of rank, subdivided by the scholar Enrico Atzeni into three categories: with flat face, with simple face dashes and with face reliefs. 

The Dolmen of Sa Coveccada, (from Sardinian, "what is covered") in Mores in the province of Sassari, (only an hour and a half drive, 106 km from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites) is considered one of the most important megalithic constructions in the world, about 2,70 meters high, in Macomer with Su Edrosu, (a couple of hours by car, 140 km from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites) or in the territory of Buddusò (1 hour and a quarter drive, 80 km from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites) with its eleven structures, in that of Berchidda (less than an hour's drive and 56 km from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites) with thirteen structures.

In Sassari, there is the prehistoric sanctuary of Monte d'Accoddi (at an hour and forty of car and 135 km from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites) with two altars, a village and an underground hypogeum necropolis, which occupies an area of ​​2513 square meters and develops a volume of 7590 cubic meters. Scholars compare this megalithic complex to something similar to the terrace or ziggurat altar of Mesopotamia. In the fifties of the last century archaeological excavations brought to light trapezoidal access without steps they named as “Temple A”, incorporated in another altar of the same form with entrance steps and with a temple built on its top.

However, it has not yet been verified - as for the Mesopotamian ziggurats – if even the truncated pyramid of Monte d'Accoddi hosted sacred festivals and propitiatory rites when, according to the archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu, "on the high of the ziggurat the Sun God descended to lie down with the Mother Goddess, mortal representation of the fertility of men, animals and the earth".

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Written by Daniela Toti

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