The trade routes
The position of Gallura, just off neighbouring Corsica and open to contacts with the Tyrrhenian coast of the Italian peninsula, placed the region within a series of trade routes. Despite the internal location of the territory of Luogosanto, findings in the Palace of Baldu have allowed retracing the commercial traffic between this settlement and the Mediterranean from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. The same political ties built by the Giudici of Gallura and Logudoro with Pisa and Genoa promoted the arrival of goods from all over the Mediterranean basin and the East (fig. 1).
The difference in the various artefacts from extremely distant territories, however, does not show a direct link between the palace and each production site, in fact, there could have been even just one single channel for the movement of goods purchased in different ports and emporia.
Various fragments of pottery from Liguria and Tuscany (XIII-XIV centuries) and from the Iberian Peninsula (XIV century) have been brought to light within the archaeological site. The Pisa and Genoa trade routes constantly left the Mediterranean basin in order to reach Islamic lands where they traded their goods for local produce; these goods could also be spread through the Spanish and African coasts. These jars with engraved band decorations were probably produced in the thirteenth century in Morocco and southern Spain (fig. 2).
Trade with the eastern Mediterranean is documented by ceramic ware with a turquoise coating produced in Egypt and in other neighbouring areas from the end of the twelfth century, and also by Greek-Turkish artefacts.
The glass production spread through the same channels used for ceramics: fragments of enamelled and engraved artefacts with motifs that reproduce Arabic scripts come from the East (fig. 3), which may be dated to the thirteenth century; finally, vessels produced in Syria and Egypt, which may be dated between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. Tuscan twelfth-fifteenth century artefacts and Venice glass belonging to the "Aldrevandin" group, related to the centuries between the thirteenth and fourteenth, arrived from the peninsula.
The presence of rare and sought after goods in the Palace of Baldu has led to the hypothesis that the buyers belonged to an upper class or that there were exchanges of gifts between political figures who visited the complex.
- F. G. R. CAMPUS, Incastellamento e poteri locali di origine ligure in Sardegna. L’area della Sardegna settentrionale, in L. GALLINARI (a cura di), Genova una “porta” del Mediterraneo, Genova 2005, pp. 367-412.
- F. PINNA, Le testimonianze archeologiche relative ai rapporti tra gli Arabi e la Sardegna nel medioevo, in Rivista dell’Istituto di Storia dell’Europa Mediterranea, 4, 2010, pp. 11-37.
- F. PINNA, D. CORDA, Scambi e circuiti commerciali nella Sardegna medievale: dati archeologici dal Palazzo di Baldu (Luogosanto, Olbia-Tempio), in Bulletin de la Société des sciences historiques et naturelles de la Corse, 2014, pp. 748-749.
- F. PINNA, D. MUSIO, Il vetro nella Sardegna medievale: nuovi dati dall'indagine archeologica del Palazzo di Baldu (Luogosanto, OT), in A. COSCARELLA (a cura di), Il vetro in Italia: testimonianze, produzioni, commerci in età bassomedievale. Il vetro in Calabria: vecchie scoperte, nuove acquisizioni, XV Giornate di studio sul vetro AIHV (Arcavacata di Rende, 9-11 giugno 2011), Arcavacata di Rende 2012, pp. pp. 315-329.