Detailed sheets

The smelting workshop

In the steepest part of the dwelling area (insula 1) there was access to room 15 that was sub-rectangular in shape (size 4.74x3.15 metres), a workshop, with the entrance built on an opening in the external wall surrounding all the buildings in this area (fig. 1).

Fig. 1 - Map of insula 1 with the different rooms that face onto the courtyard (from FADDA 2012, fig. 53, p. 40).
Fig. 2 - Kiln with lead sheets found in the various layers connected to the several phases of work (from Fadda 2012, fig. 60, p. 46).

On the right side of the workshop, there is a stone workbench along the whole perimeter wall on the southeast side, above which there are the remains of four low-flame kilns that were used until the 9th-8th century B.C. (Iron Age) for The smelting of lead and the recycling of metal from votive offers (usually bronze items that were fixed to their bases with molten lead, and were exhibited on the sacred perimeter of the nearby sanctuary.

The smelting system was a simple one: a hold of about 0.5 metre diameter was dug, that was then lined with fresh clay and inside the fuel and the mineral were arranged in layers, enclosed by a circle of stones. Limestone rock was added to the mineral and the fuel, that turned into quicklime when baked, and removed the impurities from the minerals used.

The last phase of use for the lead-smelting kiln can be identified as the Iron Age (9th-8th century B.C.) due to the presence of an askoid jug with a handle decorated by circles and a hull-bottom bowl with a lip that can be identified as part of characteristic pottery items of this period (fig. 3)

Fig. 3 - Jugs with circle decorations found in the kilns In room 15 (from Fadda 2012, fig. 63, p. 48).


  • FADDA M.A., Antichi sardi purificati. Atto secondo, in Archeologia Viva, Firenze gennaio 2011.
  • FADDA M.A., Il villaggio santuario di S'Arcu 'e Is Forros, Sardegna archeologica. Guide e itinerari, 48, Sassari 2012.
  • FADDA M.A., S’Arcu’e Is Forros: Nuragici, Filistei e Fenici fra i monti della Sardegna, in Archeologia Viva, 155, XXXI, Firenze 2012, pp. 46-57.
  • FADDA M.A., Il villaggio-santuario di S’Arcu ’e is Forros in Ogliastra. Il più importante centro metallurgico della Sardegna nuragica e i suoi rapporti con l’Etruria mineraria, in NEGRONI CATACCHIO N. (a cura di) Paesaggi cerimoniali. Ricerche e scavi ( 2 voll. ), Atti dell’XI Incontro di Studi “Preistoria e Protostoria in Etruria", pp. 497-514.
  • FADDA M.A., Villagrande Strisaili. Il santuario nuragico di S'Arcu 'e Is Forros e le insulae degli artigiani fusori, in Nel segno dell’acqua. Santuari e bronzi votivi della Sardegna nuragica, Sassari 2014, pp. 199-227.