Mont’e Prama is a hill of vaguely elliptical shape, defined in geological terms as a limestone relief. Its name (locally Mònt’e Pramma) reflects its uncultivated state, with large presence of dwarf palms, probably due to the abandonment of the fields in medieval and post-medieval times.
In the 17th century, Capuchin monk Salvatore Vidal was the first to write about the existence of an ancient centre at Mont’e Prama, one of the fourty oppida (fortified cities) in the Sinis area.
A precious reference of the farming status of the lands of Mont’e Prama comes from a document (Cabreo del Legado Pio de Cabras) held in the parish archives of Santa Maria di Cabras. In 1929, scholar Antonio Taramelli, in his Edizione archeologica della carta d’Italia al 100.000 – Foglio 216 (Archaeological map of Italy at a scale of 1:100,000 – Sheet 216), provided information on ancient settlements in the area: the nuraghes of Cannevadosu and Sa Tiria and a necropolis dating from Greek or Roman times.
The archaeological area was identified in 1972 by Silvano Ibba, a student of Giovanni Lilliu, in his dissertation on the archaeological findings in the central-southern area of the Sinis.
In the early 1970s, farmers Giovanni Corrias and Sisinio Poddi, while ploughing with a heavy plough unearthed the first sculptures of Mont’e Prama. The first documented findings date from the spring of 1974.
The material was handed over to Peppetto Pau, at the time director of the Antiquarium Arborense of Oristano. The Cagliari Architecture Superintendency recovered the fragments and organised a first brief excavation campaign in December 1975, directed by Alessandro Bedini.
Excavation campaign by Alessandro Bedini in 1975
Several other excavation campaigns followed: in January 1977 a test dig of only one day directed by Giovanni Lilliu and Enrico Atzeni, in December of the same year a series of test digs directed by Maria Luisa Ferrarese Ceruti and Carlo Tronchetti and, in the summer-autumn of 1979, the first systematic campaign under the direction of Carlo Tronchetti.
Test digs by Ferrarese Ceruti and Tronchetti in 1977
Excavation campaign by Carlo Tronchetti in 1979
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