Detailed sheets

A sea of trade

Between the 13th and 6th century B.C., Sardinia was strategically included in the crossroads of commercial trade between the East and West Mediterranean, due to the rich mineral deposits and almost certainly for the role it played in Nuragic civilisation, the processing of metal techniques it received from various cultures.

The S’Arcu ‘e Is Forros site is part of this scenario, that shows it is one of the oldest and most important Sardinian religious centres for metal working.

The previous items found, such as bronze containers of excellent make (oinochoe), buckles, bracelets decorated with geometric patterns, earrings, buttons, votive quivers, bronze and amber necklaces, silver rings, a pendant of a miniature axe, bronze tripod bezels, a faïence scarab, and a bronze pendant of the goddess Tanit, are proof of the several contacts and trading from the beginning of the Iron Age, with the non-island Tyrrhenian communities (figs. 1, 2).

Fig. 1 - Vase for wine in bronze with a high lip (oinochoe), and a handle with a palm leaf at the base (From FADDA 2012, pp. 46-57).
Fig. 2 - Bronze buckles, bronze pendant of the goddess Tanit, bronze tripod bezel, axe with semi-moonshaped bronze blade and engraved decorations, and a scarab in faïence (from FADDA 2012, pp. 46-57).

The oldest material proof left by contact with the populations of the Mediterranean East in the inner areas, difficult to reach of Sardinia, is a Canaan amphora, found in fragments inside room 2 of the insula 2, near the fireplace, together with askoid jugs and Nuragic urns. The amphora, which has been partly reconstructed, has an inscription on the shoulder, after baking, in Philistine and Phoenician characters dated between the 9th and 8th centuries B.C. (fig. 3).

Fig. 3 - Canaan amphora (from FADDA 2012, fig. 71, page 55).


  • FADDA M.A., Antichi sardi purificati. Atto secondo, in Archeologia Viva, Firenze gennaio 2011.
  • FADDA M.A., Villagrande Strisaili, villaggio santuario S'Arcu 'e Is Forros, in L'Ogliastra, archeologia, Cagliari 2011, pp. 37-45.
  • 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., 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.
  • MINOJA M., SALIS G., Un contributo al catalogo delle fibule rinvenute in Sardegna. Alcune considerazioni, in Quaderni, 26/2015, pp. 151-164.