Ancient history of Sardinia
Ancient history of SardiniaHome Page
Brief signs on ancient Sardinia
The Historical and Geographic regions of Sardinia
Chronology of the ancient Sardinia

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 man.

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' graves).

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.