The more ancient traces of man's presence in Sardinia go back to the Lower
Palaeolithic (around 500.000 years ago): they are tools in flint, recovered
in Perfugas and Laerru (SS) territories.
After an apparent void of millennia, it actually reaches the Upper
Palaeolithic (around 12.000 B. C.); to this period go back the deers' remains
bones recovered in the Cave Corbeddu of Oliena (NU), that introduce
indirect traces (combustion, manufacturing) of the contemporary presence of
By the same Cave Corbeddu, from a stratum dated with Radiocarbon method at
7.444 + 380 B.C., come from the most ancient human remains found in the isle.
In the Ancient Neolithic (6.000-4.000 B.C.) there are in Sardinia the first
cultural demonstrations of relief; the ceramic appears, sometimes decorated
with instrumental impression or using the edge of cardium edule ("cardiale
ceramic"). In comparison with the Palaeolithic, several lithic tools are
realized in small dimensions and with a more accurate manufacturing (stung
of arrow, chisels, knives etc.).
The discovery of agriculture and breeding is of this period, attested to the
recovery of pestles and mills in stone, of cereal seeds and bones of pets.
It is moreover certified the ossidiana of Arci Mountain exploitation and
commerce, which will be exported to Corsica, Tuscany, Emilia, Liguria, to
southern France and, perhaps, also in the Catalogna. In the medium Neolithic
(around 4.000 - 3.500 B.C.) it develops the culture of Bonuighinu,
establishment in cave or in the open; the first funeral artificial small
caves are also dug in this period (Cuccuru Arrius - Cabras). The ceramic is
often characterized by a refined decoration. The statuettes of "Mother
Goddess", represented as a woman in obese form, belong to this period. The
Late Neolithic (around 3.500 - 2.500 B.C.) is represented by the Culture of
Ozieri, diffused in the whole Island. The establishment increase and the
built-up areas often assume notable dimensions. This is the phase in which
will develop the funeral hypogeal architecture with thousand graves - the
"domus de janas" - in that are sometimes represented symbols of spirituality
(taurine protomi, spirals, false doors, etc.) or also the houses
architectural elements of alive people (pillars, beams of the roof, seats,
hearths etc.). The ceramic introduces a rich repertoire of vascular forms
and decorative motives realized with different techniques. At the end of
the Last Neolithic, the megalithic phenomenon (dolmen and menhir) spreads
in the island: the tomb circles of the Gallura and the burials of Pranu
Mutteddu (Gani (CA)) funeral complex are of this period
During the Copper Age (around 2.500- 1.800 B.C.) there is a at first the
gradual passage from the Ozieri Culture to those of Filigosa and Abelazu,
characterized the first one from vases with angular profile and the second
from typical flask vases. There is a notable impoverishment by the cultural
side in comparison with the previous phase of Ozieri: this is due to the
gradual hostility among the people which contemporaneously pervades whole
the Mediterranean basin. The burial, in the Neolithic domus de janas, goes
on in this period and they dig of new; near the dolmenic graves it appears
the "armies" menhir statues of Sarcidano.
The presence of the "Bell Form Vase" culture places in the island between
the Copper Age and the Bronze one. It is a cultural current that will be
observed also in other European areas and which seems to consolidate in
Sardinia, almost peacefully, with the native populations.
The Bonnanaro Culture develops in its more ancient phase (1800 - 1500 B. C.)
in the Bronze Age, which is characterized by a ceramic in greater part
unadorned and with very particular handles. In this period the megalithic
burials evolve into a kind of grave with a lengthened room, preamble to the
typical nuraghic burial: the "giants' grave."
The real beginning of the Nuraghic Civilization goes back to the final phase
of the Bonnanaro's Culture, which will developing uninterruptedly up to the
VI century B.C., enduring in some areas, till the Roman conquest.
In addition to the nuraghic, the "corridors" (or protonuraghis) and
"tholos" (simple or complex nature), the nuraghic civilization produced a
remarkable architectural development: civil (villages), religious (sacred
wells, sacred sources, small temples "in antis") and funereal (giants'
The productions of the "bronze statuettes" dates to the Iron Age, they are
"ex-voto" and represent animals, nacelles and other objects of the various
nuraghic world. The mines' exploitation was of course the principal
resource of this period: close to the figured bronzes, there is a
production of weapons, utensils and various objects in bronze, having few
equals in the rest of the Mediterranean.The metal of the Island was also the
incentive pushing Cretan, Mycenean, Cypriot merchants and, subsequently,
Phoenician to attend Sardinia, establishing at the beginning seasonal and
later stable ports. Through the Phoenician commercial ports had origin
cities as Karalis, Sulci, Nora and Bithia from which (under the control of
Carthage) will start the punic conquest of the island, in the VI century
B.C.. In the 238 B.C., after the I punic war, Sardinia will pass under the
Roman dominion, but the conquest of the island, after various native
revolts, can be considered only concluded in the I century B. C.. Sardinia
became Roman province in the Imperial Epoch and saw a notable development of
urban centers and road system.