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The worship of water: the Sa Carcaredda Nuragic complex

The Nuragic archaeological area of Sa Carcaredda, located in a high position at the boundary between Ogliastra and Barbagia, includes a place of worship, a village and five giants’ tombs. The megaron temple (fig. 1), presumably connected with the worship of water, built in the Recent Bronze Age, in polygonal granite blocks in irregular rows, is of considerable interest.

The original roof of the monument was made from flat stone slabs, with a double sloping roof in rectangular rooms and jetting out over a circular environment (a tholos).

Fig. 1 - Map of the temple of Sa Carcaredda (from FADDA 1995, page 118, fig. 4.1).


An irregular trapezoid shape passage (vestibolo) with an extension of the side walls on the front (in antis), with stone benches, leads to a rectangular room, with flooring in granite slabs, and the walls made from unequal stone rows, the result of various building phases.

From this last room, there is direct access to the circular room, where a ritual fire has been revealed and an altar in nuraghe form, that was used as a votive base for the offers placed inside the temple cell, such as, for example, bronze buttons with animal protomes, daggers and votive quivers, bronze figures (offers and animals), daggers, lances, axes, bangles, necklaces in amber and rock crystal, datable between the 12th and 7th century B.C.

Fig. 2 - Reconstruction of votive store at the temple of Sa Carcaredda (from

Externally, on the north side, the temple warehouse has been brought to light, which is almost rectangular in shape, accessed by an entrance bordered by two low stone pillars that must have supported a single sloping roof.

All around, various circular and rectangular areas refer to a Nuragic village still to be dug, while nearby, a few hundred metres away, immersed in thick vegetation of holmoaks, concentrated in a restricted area, there are two giants’ tombs, of exceptional size, that were investigated at the end of the last century, which together with another three tombs, smaller in size, form a small necropolis, that can be dated between the initial phase of the middle Bronze Age and the early Iron Age, according to a typical funeral practice in the Nuoro area (fig. 3).

Fig. 3 - Sa Carcaredda, giant’s grave 1 (from



  • FADDA M. A., Sa Carcaredda Villagrande, in Museo speleo-archeologico di Nuoro, Guide e itinerari, 17, Sassari 2006, pp. 54-58 e p. 90.
  • FADDA M. A., Il villaggio santuario di S'Arcu 'e Is Forros, Sardegna archeologica. Guide e itinerari , 48, Sassari 2012, pp. 84-100.