The Giants of Mont’e Prama
A fascinating mystery
When about 25 years ago I moved to Tuscany, I had never heard of the Giants of Mont’e Prama and so last year, when I saw for the first time a newspaper article that talked about the discovery of new statues, I’m literally fall from the sky. What are the Giants of Mont’e Prama? When were they discovered? Where? Surfing the web I found out many details about the Giants, first of all that the first finds were recovered between the late seventies and early eighties. A long time ago … why then I had never heard of the Giants when I was living in Sardinia? I think that this is due, as often happens in Italy, by the lack of attention to the archaeological site(see the end of article). In fact comments from people I know who have been there before the recent controversy about the conditions of the site, describe the site itself as poorly supervised and poorly valued.
Clearly I can not confirm, but it could certainly be a plausible explanation.
Anyway, have seen the pictures on newspapers and later on internet, encouraged me to go see the incredibly evocative and fascinating statues of the giants.
The site is located in the town of Cabras, a town which overlooks the pond of the same name, in the province of Oristano. The area, as you already know from previous posts (see post 1 & 2), is rich of Nuragic settlements and nearby you can also admire the remains of the Punic-Phoenician-Roman city of Tharros (see post). Its name is due to the presence in the area of the dwarf palm, in Sardinian “prama”, that here has the ideal climatic conditions to the spontaneous growth. The term “monte” instead is just due to an higher area of the terrain(about 50m in height). The area has retained over the years a kind of integrity from the point of view of nature and is of great landscape interest.
I add anyway some historical news: the first findings date back to 1974, when plowing a field, a farmer unearthed a head and other stone elements. In 1979 started the full excavation of an area defined by the provincial road, and is located a necropolis, delimited on three sides by stone slabs driven into the ground, where are arranged the shaft tombs, which contained the bodies. Many as you can imagine the assumptions on the statues and their relationship with the necropolis.
Amazing the number of artifacts recovered, divided into:
- archers, wearing a short tunic and a archers wear a short tunic and a chest protector; they have long hair topped by a helmet with two horns. The left arm is protected by a scabbard and glove and carries a bow. The right arm goes down along the body, with the forearm and hand bent upward as a sign of offering. The legs
are protected by shin-guards.. Have long braids and a helmet on the head two horns. The left arm wields a bow, while the right is stretched along the body with the forearm and hand prosthesis forward. The legs are protected by greaves (part of the armor that protects the leg from the ankle to the knee);
- boxers, wear a short skirt and are bare-chested. They are characterized by the position of the left arm holding a shield over their head, while holding the front side of the shield with his right arm, protected by a glove;
- warriors, of which there are only a few fragments, which grip with both hands a circular shield finely decorated;
- models of nuraghe, ie reproductions of Nuraghic towers.
The dating of the finds, according to the theories, are between the eighth century BC and the tenth century BC, and if confirmed these datings could do the Giants the most ancient anthropomorphic sculptures of the Mediterranean area.
PS: about the controversy that erupted in recent months regarding the management of the site, I certainly can not express myself, but analyzing the countless websites, I am convinced that only the newspaper “La Nuova Sardegna“, was the first involved on the discoveries made by archaeologists in Mont’e Prama, and has kept alive our interest, reminding us that in Sardinia and Italy, we still have to find out so much more about our mysterious and incredible past. In this regard, I carry a few lines of an interview with Luigi Zingales (economist, academic and Italian blogger, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business) published just few days ago from “La Nuova Sardegna”(see): “… I think this whole thing has been managed badly. It is a finding that deserves a world stage, of which, for now, there is no trace ….. “.
GPS coordinates Mont’e Prama: 39.963777, 8.4533629,448
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