National Archaeology of Cagliari Part Three: Sites of Sardinia

…continued from Part Two

This part of my post will basically cobble together the objects from the top three floors.  The display cases look at specific sites, which could be very interesting.  However, the galleries were being re-done when I visited, so it made for quite a depressing journey, past empty cases and with badly labelled objects.   Knowing that this feeling of being unloved is temporary makes it easier to accept, but on the other hand it’s a shame for me, because I don’t know if or when I might return to see it as it should be.

Anyway, the items go backwards and forwards in time, and I’ve left the order as I saw it.  It makes no sense, but neither did the displays, so go with it.  They had some remarkable works on display, including a few really great Roman busts.

Seasons Sarcophagus, early 4th century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.  It was reused for a child’s burial as there is an inscription saying: “One year, 8 months, 16 days old”.

Detail of a Cupid holding a woven basket from the Seasons Sarcophagus, early 4th century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Detail of a Cupid with a headscarf from the Seasons Sarcophagus, early 4th century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Detail of a Cupid holding a different type of woven basket from the Seasons Sarcophagus, early 4th century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Some of the Egyptian influence on show in the lower galleries is in evidence again here.

Sphinx in Egyptian pink granite, 3rd-1st century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Bes, 3rd century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Portrait of an unknown man, 1st century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Bust of a Julio-Claudian man, 1st century Ad, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Portrait of Augustus, probably post 20BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Reclining man, once part of a fountain, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

From the area of cremations, Tuvixeddu, 5th-2nd century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Details from a tripod, c3200-2600 BC, found at the village of Su Coddu, Selargius, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

A range of ex-votos, Punic and Roman eras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Female bust used as an ex-voto, Punic and Roman eras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Fragment of a wrinkled face used as an ex-voto, Punic and Roman eras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Hand ex-votos, Punic and Roman eras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Portrait-like bust used as an ex-voto, Punic and Roman eras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Celebratory Inscription, end of 2nd/early 3rd century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. “In Honour of the Emperor Caesar, Lucius Septimius Severus Pertinax and of the Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and of Publius Septimius Geta Nobilissimus Caesar, restored the Rufianae baths, in ruins. Marcus Domitius Tertullus curated the work, procurator of the two Augusti”.  The Emperor had his brother Geta’s name damned and here it has been roughly erased.

Funerary Inscription, 2nd century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. “To the Manes, Caius Julius Candidus Bessus, solider of the Praetorian Fleet of Misenum (in the century of)… Abatius Rufus, served for 18 years and ten months. Lived for 38 years.” He was originally from Bessi in Thrace. There was a fleet of the praetorians in Karales.

Funerary Inscription, first half of the 2nd century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. “To the Manes, Lucius Turranius Celer, soldier of the Praetorian Fleet of Misenum, native of Dalmatia lived for forty years served for twenty three, attended to (this memorial stone) Quintus Naevius Aquila (centurion).”

Christian Inscription, 6th/7th century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. “Barracks of the St Longinus Centurion, here stay away from the Lord, Devil.” This unique inscription was probably affixed to the wall of some barracks. And the last bit is telling the devil to keep out – presumably a written instruction was more powerful than a spoken one.

Christian funeral inscription, 5th-7th century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. “Here rests Deusdedit, of good memory, Defender of the Holy Church of Karales who lived more of less for 4 years, rested in peace in the 2nd day before the Ides of November in the tenth indiction in Karales” (11th Nov).  It was discovered in the sepulchral area of St Saturnino from which the ‘martyrs’ were exhumed for reburial in the Cathedral.

Panel with ivory and bone figures of cherubs, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Panel with ivory and bone figures of cherubs, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Statuette, 3rd-1st century BC, from the Sanctuary of Bes, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Excavations in the 1950s revealed that the cult of Bes, a healing divinity, was prevalent during the Roman period. Many terracotta statuettes were deposited in this sanctuary, with the figures gesturing towards the part of the body that they prayed would be healed.

Demon mask from San Sperate, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Such objects were prevalent in the Punic world and are documented in Sardinia from the 5th century BC. Demons such as the well-known Pazuzu played an important role in Near Eastern rites of passage, and in the traditions surrounding the transition from life to death.

Marble pluteus, 950 AD, from Sant’Efisio in Nora, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Cruciform figurines of Ceres from the small rural sanctuary of Strumpu Bagoi, Terreseo (Narcao), 1st century BC-1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.

Stele with the figure of a sheep from the tophet at Suici, Sant’Antioco, 2nd century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Small marble steles such as this one, originally inserted into a larger piece of local stone, testify to the fact that the Punic-era tophet continued to be used into the Roman period.

Little ivory parrot, not sure of date, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Emperor Claudius, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Emperor Tiberius, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Drusus Julius Caesar, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Drusus Julius Caesar, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Drusus Julius Caesar, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Stele with the figure of a woman in a temple, holding a disc to her chest, Suici, Sant’Antioco, 3rd-2nd century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.  Roman Suici was a prosperous port city which maintained a degree of cultural continuity with its Punic origins.

Two finds from the archaeological site of Nora, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Inscription with the first documented use of the name of Sardinia, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Terracotta human figure, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Terracotta human figure with a snake, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

 

The statues from Mont’e Prama, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Statues of boxers, Mont’e Prama, Cabras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Statue of an archer, Mont’e Prama, Cabras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Statuette of an archer, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Statuette of an archer, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Row of statues and their bronze counterparts, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Statuette of an archer, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Statue of an archer, Mont’e Prama, Cabras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Detail of the bow of the statue of an archer, Mont’e Prama, Cabras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Statuette of a warrior, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Warrior and a shield, Mont’e Prama, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Model of a Nuraghe, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Model of a Nuraghe, Mont’e Prama, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Model of a Nuraghe, with a man and an animal, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Outside the main entrance are a few sarcophagi and if you go round to the right of the entrance, you’ll see a little courtyard.  There were some interesting things there, but I had only the quickest look because a bunch of bees kept attacking me.

Sarcophagus, Roman era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Detail of a sarcophagus, Roman era, she’s playing a lute, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Reused sarcophagus, end of 2nd century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. “To the Manes, remember, o Lord, your servant Greca, nun, Amen. Whoever opens this will incur the anathema of the 365 fathers, because there is no gold or silver here”. Presumably it was reused by a Christian, and it possibly came from Campania.

Barrel-shaped cippus, 2nd century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. From left to right: 1. To the Manes, to Caius Stertinius Aelianus. He lived for 35 years, 8 days, 11 days. Stertinia Fortunata made this for the devoted father. 2. To the Manes and to Julia Primitiva. She lived for 26 years, 8 months and 22 days. Caius Stertinius Bachyllas made this for his worthy daughter. 3. To the Manes and to Julia Primitiva. She lived for 40 years. Caius Stertinius Bachyllas made this for his worthy wife. 4. To the Manes and to Caius Stertinius Bacilas. He lived for 60 years, 8 month. Julius Bacilas made it for his worthy father. “

So In Summary

This museum was truly educational for me, and I came away admiring and loving the Nuragic figures.  The only problem was the fact that huge swathes of the museum were being done up and presumably rearranged, and it’s annoying walking past a run of empty glass display cases.  Still, that will soon change.  I’m taking it for granted that the whole museum will eventually be like the ground floor, and that will be great, because this island deserves a museum which really shows off its unique and fascinating heritage.

Further Information

There is a fee to enter the museum, and disappointingly, you can’t get a ticket to cover all the museums in the so-called Citadel, but you can get a joint one for here and the Art Gallery.

The museum has a website, with a section in English, but it’s sort of limited: www.museoarcheocagliari.beniculturali.it

There was also a good, but small, gift shop with a fine range of books in English on Sardinian history.

How To Get There

The museum is on the Citadel of Museums.  It’s easy to walk there from the old centre of Cagliari, but it is on a steep hill, so you may need a bus.  The transport website for Cagliari is not very user-friendly for the non-Italian speaker.  So, here’s the city’s official transport website: www.ctmcagliari.it – with some English information on Cagliari buses generally.  Here is a pdf of the bus map.  Now you’ve worked out what route you want to take, pop over here for a list of the bus numbers, so you can see the schedule of your bus. Yes, it’s that simple.

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