Bronze axes

(Nuragic Age)

In Tortolì, in the San Salvatore area, in the nuraghe of S'Ortali 'e su Monte, in the space between the left door jamb of the entrance to the main tower and the corridor, they found a thick vase standing on a flat stone (fig. 1). The container held a group of 19 bronze axes with raised edges and a flat heel, arranged neatly interlocking alternately (fig. 2). By shape, weight and size they are of a type widely diffused in both Ogliastra and the rest of the island.

Most of these items do not show much wear to the blades. So the fact that they were conserved carefully could be the result of a hoarding process for commercial activities linked to the considerable production of cereals in the fertile plain crossed by a river. This is proved by the presence of 12 brick silos used to hold the cereals harvested.

Fig. 1 - Nuraghe S’Ortali ’e su Monte. The corridor leading to the tower with the base of the nuragic vase that held the bronze axes (photo from Fadda 2012, p. 40, fig. 55).
Fig. 2 - Nuraghe S’Ortali ’e su Monte. The storage space for the 19 axes reassembled in the museum display case (photo from Fadda 2012 a, p. 40, fig. 56).

Moreover, we can hypothesise the existence of close relations and trade between the mountain populations of the inland areas and the communities living on the coast, as is proven by the presence of similar axes in the metalworking centre of S’Arcu ’e is Forros of Villagrande Strisaili (fig. 3) and, further north, in the nuraghe Sisine di Nule (fig. 4).

Fig. 3 - Bronze axes with raised edges and fragment of sickle from S’Arcu ’e is Forros (from Fadda 2012 b, p. 19, fig. 24).
Fig. 4 - Axes with raised edges from the storage space of the nuraghe Sisine-Nule (from Lo Schiavo 2014, p. 98).


  • F. LO SCHIAVO, La produzione metallurgica, in La Sardegna nuragica. Storia e materiali, a cura di A. MORAVETTI, E. ALBA, L. FODDAI, Sassari 2014 pp. 93-120.
  • M.A. FADDA, Tortolì. I monumenti neolitici e il nuraghe S’Ortali ‘e su Monte, Sardegna Archeologica. Guide e Itinerari, 49, Sassari 2012.
  • M.A. FADDA, Il villaggio santuario di S’Arcu ’e is Forros, Sardegna Archeologica. Guide e Itinerari, 48, Sassari 2012.