Mont'e Prama Giant statue head

Two more Giants discovered at Mont’e Prama

By Region Culture News The Islands

Two more monumental statues are discovered at Mont’e Prama Nuragic necropolis at Cabras on Sardinia. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini described is as “an exceptional discovery”.

The field study at the Mont’e Prama Nuragic necropolis at Cabras on the island of Sardinia, began on April 4. It confirmed the necropolis stretches southwards and there is a major burial road flanking the tombs.

The discovery was of the powerful torsos of two boxers, a large flexible shield that covers the stomach and envelops an arm. There were also a head, legs and other body parts – just days after the resumption of the latest excavation campaign.

These giant statues join the army of warriors and boxers that are still shrouded in mystery. It had made the Sardinian archaeological site famous all over the world. Superintendent Monica Stochino told ANSA that the discovery was truly “important”. It also bodes well for more surprises in the coming weeks.

“Exceptional discovery”

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini also expressed enthusiasm. He recalled the find has taken place just under a year after the birth of a foundation for the site featuring the culture ministry, the Cabras town council and the Sardinian regional government. “It’s an exceptional discovery and others will follow,” he commented.

The find “is evidence for us that we are on the right road,” stressed Alessandro Usai. He is the archaeologist who has been the scientific director of the excavation since 2014.

The two new giants have different characteristics to the boxers uncovered at the site in the middle of the 1970s after the accidental discovery of this incredible place, Usai explained. He said they are of the “Cavalupo” type, like the last two uncovered in 2014, not far from the current dig, distinguished by their very distinctive curved shield.

1975 excavation at Mont’e Prama

“It is rare figure in the model of the Nuragic bronze statuette conserved in the Etruscan Museum in Villa Giulia in Rome,” the archaeologist told ANSA. He referred to the little masterpiece that came from a tomb at the Cavalupo necropolis at Vulci, in Lazio.

Careful examination, cleaning and the removal of the two large torsos will take time. The limestone from which they are sculpted from is particularly fragile. The findings are certain to provide new elements of study.

Mystery around cemetery almost exclusively for men

The group will work to find answers to the history problems raised by this special cemetery from 3,000 years ago. It is built along a burial road and reserved almost exclusively for young men, said Usai. The “elderly and children are almost completely missing.” Furthermore, there are very few women in the 170 tombs studies so far.

Mystery remains about the Mont’e Prama site, which was started around the 12th century BC. Questions are also asked of the giants. Experts date them between the 11th and 8th centuries BC.

Who were these colossal, two-metre-high pieces of stone? Were they ancient custodians of a sacred area or representations of the social functions of the buried? Heroes, ancestors or identity symbols of a community? And why had they fallen down and been reduced to rubble on the tombs they were meant to watch over? Was their end the consequence of a fight between local communities or was it down to the Carthaginians? Usai said that he was inclined towards another hypothesis, that of “natural” destruction.

“My opinion is that the giants fell down one at a time on their own, as the way they were made was overbalanced forwards,” Usai said. The passage of time, the movements of the earth and the cultivations of this stretch of land, which has always been precious for wheat crops, would have done the rest. The archaeologist concluded it is necessary to go beyond stereotypes.

“Here we are seeking answers based on facts,” he said.

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