"Giants" of Mont'e Prama

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Mont'e Prama Giant's head

The "Giants" of Mont'e Prama are 25 limestone statues, about 2 meters high, that represent warriors, and whose pieces were found back in 1974, thanks to two peasants, Sisinnio Poddi and Battista Meli, who were ploughing their land in Cabras, at the feet of Mont'e Prama's hill, and discovered a huge limestone head. The authorities were alerted and the excavations started.
A lot has been written by the scientists about the interpretation of these statues, several theories have been made and some questions are still open, also because the area has not been entirely excavated yet.
The period they belong to is the Iron Age (900-500 B.C.), when in Sardinia there was the nuragic civilization. The question of dating is also open, but the majority of scientists thinks the statues were built during the 8th century B.C.
The place of the finding is fundamental to understand their function: the statues were found, together with several betili (sacred stones) and models of nuraghi, on a necropolis of 33 tombs dug in the rock. As we said, they represent warriors, 16 of which are "pugilatori" (a kind of boxers): they hold a shield in their left hand and the other fist is closed; 5 of them are archers, with a bow in their left hand and their right hand standing in sign of offering to the divinity; finally, 4 of them are warriors that had originally a shield in their hand. The statues are all incomplete, and some fragments suggest the presence of other statues, too.
The warriors show features that are repeated in each one of them, as their clothes, their face with round eyes, their size; but they also have very tiny details that differentiate them, so they would have been made by different people but in the same period.
As they were situated on a necropolis, the scientists have deduced that they were part of a "Heroon", a temple that had the function to celebrate the ancestors of an aristocratic family, making a monument of the human figure, and underlining the military and religious aspects.

The giants represent the local models of the nuragic civilization: they reproduce in fact the figures of the several bronzetti (small bronze statues) found along the island, even though they show details of an "oriental" style, very common at that time in the Mediterranean (in their clothing, in their eyes represented with two circles).
In fact the warriors seem to have been created by nuragic people that re-elaborated the style and the works of the peoples that had sailed from the west and settled in the island, also in the near Tharros for example, and with whom the nuragics had contacts. So the statues would come from the oriental prototypes of the south-anatolian and irano-caucasian areas of the period between the end of the 2nd millennium B.C. and the beginning of the 1st millennium B.C., even though these models came in turn from the re-elaboration of elements of the Mesopotamic and Syrian areas of the 3rd and 2nd millennium B.C.

The 5.178 fragments of the statues that have been found until now have been put together from 2007 to 2011 by a team of experts in "Li Punti", Sassari. Until 2016 we will have the opportunity to admire the warriors at the Archaeological Museum of Cagliari and the Civic Museum of Cabras, not very far from the place where they were found in the seventies.

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