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Giants’ tomb of Thomes

The collective megalithic burial site of S'Ena 'e Thomes is a remarkable example of nuraghic funerary architecture (figs. 1, 2). It was excavated and restored by Francesco Nicosia, then Archaeological Superintendent for the provinces of Sassari and Nuoro, in the summer of 1977 (figs. 3-8).

Fig. 1 - View from the top of the tomb (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).
Fig. 2 - Plan and sections of the tomb of the Giants of Thomes (from MORAVETTI 1998, fig. 62, p. 76).

Before the work, the tomb appeared in poor condition. The restoration works allowed virtually the whole structure to be rebuilt, and certain technical aspects used in construction to be observed. The front of the funerary monument, made entirely of local granite, presents the exedra, the space where rituals associated with the worship of the dead were built, semicircu-lar and built with slabs planted in knife style (orthostates) in descending order towards the interior (figs. 3, 4).

Fig. 3 - Profile of the exedra at the tomb of the giants of Thomes (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).

It presents a cord of 10,20 meters and an arrow of 4,20 meters.

Fig. 4 - Exedra (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).

At the centre stands the arched stele, carved from a single block of sub-oval block; it is 3.65 m high, 2.10 m wide, 0.40 m thick and it weighs about 7 tons; it is circumscribed by a raised frame and a transverse strip (fig. 5).

Fig. 5 - Arched stele (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).

The right pillar of the stele is shorter than the left, and leans on a elaborated block, reinforced by a pile of small stones. We can also observe the presence of a lateral cavity, used to move the slab; the two orthostats arranged to the right and left of the stele have been shaped so as to match the sides perfectly.

In the bottom pane of the arched stele, the square door of the entrance opens up, with rounded corners, oriented to the south, through which you enter the long rectangular room (length. 10.9 m; width. 0,80 m; height 1.5 m). It was built with rectangular slabs driven ver-tically into the ground, on which freshly hewn stones were based, with the addition of the most minute lithic flakes to give greater support to the wall (fig. 6).

Fig. 6 - Inside the burial chamber (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).

The megalithic room shows a cover made with large slabs of granite, well-matched to each other, despite the very irregular appearance. Three slabs were still in their original position, while two others were found overturned in the side of the tomb, and possibly two others de-stroyed. The funerary corridor narrows near the entrance, forming almost a small passage (length 1.52 m), differentiated by two covering slabs smaller in size and at a much lower level than the others used for covering (figs. 7, 8, 9).

Fig. 7 - Funeral hall seen from behind (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).
Fig. 8 - Side view of the monument that shows the detail of the cover (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).
Fig. 9 - Detail of the large granite covering slabs (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).

The floor still retains traces of a pavement in slabs of granite.

A mound covered the tomb of the giants of Thomes so that, at the same time, it was hidden and highlighted: in fact, it also served to give the same grave a monumental effect and visibility (fig. 10).

Overall, the funerary structure is over 16.20 m long and about 7 m wide.

Fig. 10 - Monument reconstruction hypotheses (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).

The objects discovered during the excavation (such as ceramic fragments, a pin bronze, roof tiles, roof tiles, coins) help viewers envisage the construction and use of the grave during the facies of the Middle Bronze of Sa turricula (1600-1500 B.C.), and a use of the same that lasted until the Historical Age. In fact, from the frequentation in the Roman Period and Early Middle Ages we can see observe traces of a settlement in part leaning against the same grave (III sec. B.C. and the VI / VII century A.D.).



  • MANUNZA M.R., Dorgali. Monumenti antichi, Oristano, 1995, pp. 111-112, figg. 144-48.
  • MORAVETTI A., Le tombe e l’ideologia funeraria, in AA.VV., La civiltà nuragica, Milano, 1990, pp. 120-168.
  • MORAVETTI A., Serra Orrios e i monumenti archeologici di Dorgali, Sardegna Archeologica. Guide e itinerari, 26, Sassari 1998, pp. 75-78, figg. 61-64.
  • MORAVETTI A. (a cura di), Carbonia-Fonni, in La Sardegna. I Tesori dell’Archeologia, La Biblioteca della Nuova Sardegna, vol. 3, Sassari 2011, pp. 90-91.
  • PULACCHINI D., Il Museo Archeologico di Dorgali, Sardegna Archeologica. Guide e itinerari, 27, Sassari 1998.


Scientific coordination
dr. Emanuela Atzeni