Detailed sheets

The discovery

The first to notice the presence of an archaeological type structure in the artificial hill of "Bruncu Su Nuraxi" were the farm labourers who worked the land immediately after the war, for Oreste Sanna, the owner of the estate.

The history of the dig, involving about one hundred workers from Barumini, is still little known today (fig. 1).

Fig. 1 - 1951: the dig of Su Nuraxi (from Murru 2000, p. 17).

The young archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu understood there to be a buried Nuraghe on the high plain. The land above was ploughed and barley and runner beans were planted. Not wheat, however, as the land was shallow, not suitable for wheat. What the people of Barumini called “Sa Funtana” (the well) was actually the keep tower. 

In the 1950s, after carrying out some dig tests on the hill to check whether there were some archaeological structures underneath, Lilliu decided with the Superintendent of the time, Gennaro Pesce to start up a systematic dig campaign to bring to light the Nuraghe that was almost completely covered by soil and grass due to collapses that took place over time (figs. 2, 3).

Fig. 2 - 1951: The men of Su Nuraxi (from Murru 2000, p. 47).
Fig. 3 - 1952: the dig of Su Nuraxi (from Murru 2000, p. 19).

The work team included about forty local labourers, who were mostly war veterans, and also used oxen as their driving force (fig. 4).

Fig. 4 - 1954: archaeological area of Su Nuraxi (from Murru 2000, p. 45).

The total amount spent was twenty million Lira.

The archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu defined the dig at Bruncu Su Nuraxi as a "feat" and the workers that collaborated with him "brothers of a great adventure”, that lasted five years.



  • LILLIU G., Il nuraghe di Barumini e la stratigrafia nuragica, in Studi Sardi, XII-XIII (1952-1954), Sassari 1955.
  • MURRU G., Su Nuraxi di Barumini 1950/2000. Le immagini del sito archeologico più famoso della Sardegna dai primi scavi al riconoscimento internazionale dell'UNESCO, Cagliari 2000.