Heroes or giants? - Mont'e Prama

Archaeology rediscovers and narrates the story of Mont’e Prama and Nuragic civilisation, without preconceptions,
to join the present with the past unveiled by scientific research.

The reality of ancient humanity is more fascinating than any imagination.

For centuries, the shepherds and peasants admired the imposing Nuragic towers – they believed that only gigantic beings,
isolated and always at war with their neighbours, could have built such massive structures.
And when they looked at huge chamber tombs, several metres long and full of bones,
they thought they were the tombs of those giant builders of the nuraghes, and that just one body was held inside each tomb.

But in truth, the giants of Sardinian folk tradition never existed in reality!

Orolo nuraghe, Bortigali

read more on SardegnaCultura

‘Tomb of the Giants’ of Coddu Vecchiu, Arzachena

read more on SardegnaCultura

The nuraghes were built and inhabited by perfectly normal human beings, while the ‘tombs of the giants’ were actually communal graves housing dozens of normal individuals, up to two hundred men and women of all ages, all together, all equal.

The nuraghes, known by that name for millennia, and the ‘tombs of the giants’, as the country folk called them, are the Cyclopean monuments
of the Bronze Age in Sardinia (about 1700-1200 BC).

The head and shield of the statue of a boxer known as ‘Efis’, clearly visible are the details of the ribbing of the shield. This statue is on show at the Giovanni Marongiu Civic Museum of Cabras.
Head of the statue of a boxer, known as ‘Fastigiadu’. On show at the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari.

The statues of Mont’e Prama, the necropolises, the villages and sanctuaries are the product of a cultural revolution
which began in the last centuries of the Bronze Age
and flourished fully during the Iron Age (about 950-730 BC).

The Iron Age was a civilised period – organised, structured in dynamic societies undergoing rapid transformation.
The Iron Age was the last period of Nuragic civilisation,
heir to the great Bronze Age, yet fundamentally different.

Head of the statue of a warrior known as ‘Gherreri’. On show at the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari.

We chose to call the statues heroes to abandon once and for all
this outdated and inadequate idea of our ‘giant’ past,
to highlight the lights but also the shadows,
to make peace with our history, which is the mirror of our present.

find out more