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Sardinia is 500 million years old

There are many good reasons to visit Sardinia, but there is one that you probably didn't know. In fact, few people know that Sardinia was the first Italian land to emerge from the sea, 500 million years ago. This also makes it one of the oldest lands in Europe.

Not only geology, Sardinia also has a very rich historical and landscape heritage. Proof of this are the human traces left on the island from the Neolithic period onwards (6,000-2,900 BC), that period that at school we studied as the last phase of the Stone Age (together with the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods).

The wonder does not stop there but reaches its most emblematic phase with the Copper Age (Eneolithic) and, above all, with the fascinating “Nuragic civilization” (1900 — 500 BC 22). This and the Neolithic have a common thread, Megalitism. Not only a Sardinian phenomenon, which has left some of the most incredible testimonies on the island, from the 'domus de janas' to the real 'nuraghi' 'tombs of the giants'.

The most remote antiquity

Sardinia emerged from the waters of the Mediterranean Sea 500 million years ago in the Cambrian era. The first area of the island to emerge

was that of Sulcis, southwest of Sardinia (Sulky, on the island of Sant'Antioco). Geologically quite distinct from the rest of the island, its terrain is a rainbow of very different compositions. They range from granites to basalts, passing through shales to calcareous, sandy and clayey areas.

Thanks to the age of its soil, this land is one of the geologically most stable regions in Italy and Europe and therefore the safest when it comes to earthquakes, which are very rare.

The Neolithic Age

Already inhabited 450 thousand years ago, Sardinia was able to exploit its geographical position and its mineral wealth. In the Neolithic period, island civilizations

reached their peak thanks to rich craftsmanship and trade in the Mediterranean.

In particular, the deposits of obsidian, a kind of natural glass, provided a precious bargaining chip. Used in the manufacture of

weapons and tools (arrows and knives, for example), Monte Arci (province of Oristano) is home to the largest mine in the Mediterranean. Defined as “the black gold

of antiquity, you can discover its secrets in the Conca and Cannas museum.

Megalitism

This commercial activity has brought the Sardinian peoples into contact with the French cultures of the Pyrenees and the Atlantic. These civilizations brought

Megalithic art to the island, surrounded by mystery throughout Europe for centuries. Its characteristic feature are the structures composed of huge boulders

(from 'megas', large, and 'lithos', stone), 'embedded' without any glue (such as mortar). For this reason, in the past, it was not clear how men

could cut and lift such massive stones.

From this, legends and myths were born that make Sardinian folklore a colorful tapestry in which to dive your imagination.

Tombs of the Giants

One of the most famous testimonies of this period are the 'tombs of the giants', collective burial complexes. They are characterized by r

ectangular stones with a round top, which are somewhat reminiscent of some of our today's tombstones.

Nuragic civilization

Megalitism, developed in the Neolithic period, continues to transform into Sardinia and flourished permanently during the Nuraghi era. This period owes

its name to buildings made of large blocks of stone, the nuraghi in fact.

Also carried away by the skilful processing of ceramics and metals that established itself on the island rich in raw materials, the island experienced well-being and wealth at this stage.

The nuraghi were the symbol of this flourishing phase, but in some ways still obscure.

Their construction began around 1900 BC as isolated circles of megalithic boulders, wider than tall. Slowly, their shape got longer and longer

until they reached more than 20 meters (27 meters in the case of the Arrubiu Nuraghe).

Su Nuraxi Nuragic Complex

Not only that, these structures have come together to form small complexes, connected by galleries. Around them, villages formed, as in the case

of the famous archaeological site of Su Nuraxi (in the municipality of Barumini), which has been included in the UNESCO heritage). Here there is an impressive

complex made of well-connected towers and walls, which suggest military use. At the time, it was one of the most populated villages on the entire island.

Despite this, historians have not completely uncovered the fog on the real function of these buildings. Some say they were defensive turrets, in

strategic positions. Some people say they were astronomical observers. Others attributed religious functions to it.

The fact is that they are a vivid testimony to the sensitivity and complexity manifested by the civilizations that inhabited Sardinia before the arrival of the Romans in the Mediterranean.

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