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Sant’Antioco during the Pre-Nuraghic and Nuraghic Age

The earliest traces of human presence in the island of Sant'Antioco, according to the results of the archaeological research, date back to the Neolithic Age (5500-2500 B.C.), although much older human traces were found in neighbouring areas, dating to the Middle (120,000- 35,000 B.C.) or Upper Palaeolithic (35,000 to 10,000 B.C.) Ages.

Along the isthmus which connects the island of Sant'Antioco to the mainland you can see two menhirs erected during the late Neolithic period (3300- 2500 approx.), traditionally called Su Para and Sa Mongia (that is, "the monk" and "the nun"). It is said that they were the petrified bodies of two religious persons in love, caught by the divine curse which reached them during their flight (fig. 1).

Fig. 1 - The Su Para and Sa Mongia menhirs (from

The Domus de Janas of Mount Isa Baccas also belong to the Late Neolithic Age (2500 B.C.) (fig. 2) as do the hut bottoms found in the city centre, near Forte Su Pisu, in the same area where the Phoenician city will be founded later.

Fig. 2 - One of the Domus de Janas of Mount Isa Baccas (from

The island was inhabited by Nuraghic populations from the first half of the second millennium B.C., as is evidenced by the presence of villages and Nuraghi. Among them, the most impressive had to be the one which stood in the centre of the current residential area, on top of the hill where the Savoy stronghold now stands. This was a complex Nuraghe, i.e. consisting of a central tower, surrounded by at least three other towers connected by a curtain wall. The Nuraghe was active, in its primary function, between 1400 and 1200 B.C., then used again until the early eighth century B.C. With the arrival of the Phoenicians, a Punic tower was built on its ruins, whose ruins were, in turn, partially englobed by the walls of the Su Pisu Fortress during the eighteenth century of our era (fig. 3).

Fig. 3 - Su Pisu fortress, on top of the hill of the town of Sant'Antioco (from

Various other remains from the Nuraghic Age are scattered around the island and among these there are two Nuraghi of some importance, located as always in strategic areas of the territory, the Grutti Acqua, with its Nuraghic village and sacred area and the Corongiu Murvonis (fig. 5). Another interesting monument which remained in use from the late Bronze Age to the early Iron Age (end of the IX century - early eighth century B.C.) is the giants’ tomb of Niu ‘e Su Crobu (fig. 6).

Fig. 4 - The remains of the Nuraghe Grutti Acqua (from
Fig. 5 - The remains of the Nuraghe Corongiu Murvonis (from
Fig. 6 - The giants’ tomb of Su Niu ‘e Su Crobu (from


  • P. BARTOLONI, Il museo archeologico comunale “F. Barreca” di Sant’Antioco, Sassari 2007.
  • G. LILLIU, Preistoria e protostoria del Sulcis, in V. SANTONI (a cura di), Carbonia e il Sulcis. Archeologia e territorio, Oristano 1995.
  • C. TRONCHETTI, S. Antioco, Sassari 1989.