National Archaeology of Cagliari Part Two: from Nuragic to Medieval Sardinia

…continued from Part One

Continuing on the first/ground floor, is a neat little exhibition room which is designed to give you an overview of the main periods of Sardinian history from the Nuragic to the Medieval world.  There is a certain amount of overlap with some of what was covered in the previous gallery, and there is more overlap from here to upstairs.  However, as I said in my opening post, they are doing major renovations, so just go with the flow.

Stone model of nuraghe with holes for fixing votive armour or other objects, Iron Age, from the sanctuary in Santa Vittoria of Serri, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Clay stamps for ritual bread, Early Iron Age, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Travelling flask, Late Iron Age, Nuragic tradition with Phoenician influences, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Mother and child, Nuragic era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Mother and child, Nuragic era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Orant with a boar, Nuragic era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Orant with a bowl containing first fruits, Nuragic era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Man with a censer, Nuragic era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Archer with a strong profile, Nuragic era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Soldier with rapier and shield, Nuragic era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Although my pictures don’t do it justice, the figure below, called the ‘Mother of the Killed Man’, was a rather touching piece.  It was like a Pieta, and the more you looked at it, the more moving it became.  It’s not often you can say that for objects created in this period.

Known as ‘Mother of the killed man”, Nuragic era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Known as ‘Mother of the killed man”, Nuragic era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Bronze lamp on a tripod, Nuragic era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

In around 900 BC,  Phoenicians began visiting Sardinia as traders.  In the 500s BC the Carthaginians launched campaigns against the coastal cities of the island and eventually conquered the region of Iglesiente, which is still famed for its mines, and areas along the southern coast and plains.  When the Carthaginians themselves were defeated by the Romans in 238 BC, Sardinia and Corsica became a Roman province.

Necklace of glass paste, functioning as amulets, found in a grave in Olbia, 4th/3rd century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Necklace of glass paste, functioning as amulets, found in a grave in Olbia, 4th/3rd century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Ornaments made of bone and ivory, 7th-4th century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Ornaments made of bone and ivory, 7th-5th century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Bronze torch-holders, 7th century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Bronze figures of Osiris and Isis, from Tharros, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Miniature lekythoi, for oil and perfume, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Lekythoi, for oil or perfume, the first shaped like an almond, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Clay mask of a man with tattoos, 6th-4th century BC, Tharros, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. These were used to scare away intruders and protect the sleep of the dead.

Clay heads of goddesses, 6th century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.  They are made in the Egyptian style (left), and Punic with Egyptian influences (middle and right) and have suspension holes on the top.

Clay statuette, Punic age, necropolis of Tharros, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Clay statuettes of Bes, Punic age, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

There were quite a few statuettes from the Sanctuary of Bes.   Excavations in the 1950s revealed that the cult of Bes, an Egyptian god of healing, was popular in Sardinia during the Roman period.  They found many terracotta figures gesturing towards the part of the body that they prayed would be healed.  Although I have seen this sort of thing before, I haven’t seen such moving statuettes – the faces are often contorted in pain and they are rendered with real power.

Clay statuettes, so-called ‘bottle-shaped idols”, 3rd-1st century BC, from a votive burial of Bes’ temple in Bithia, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Clay statuettes, so-called ‘bottle-shaped idols”, 3rd-1st century BC, from a votive burial of Bes’ temple in Bithia, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Lamp, 2nd century BC, Tharros, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Punic inscription, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Small terracotta head in Egyptian style, 6th-5th century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Terracotta head of an African, Punic age, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Terracotta sheet, showing winged Victory, Roman era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Statuette of a man in a toga, Republican era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Lead urn, Republican era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Bronze Hercules, first half of 4th century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Thin-walled pottery, Republican era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Bust of Nero, 54-59AD, Olbia (the head is not related to the bust), National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Bust of Nero, 54-59AD, Olbia, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Bust of Trajan, Olbia, early 2nd century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Globular urn, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. To Claudia, daughter of a liberta (emancipated slave) of Nero, “To the DM of Claudia Callistes/Claudia Pythias Acteniana liberta of Augustus to the dearest daughter lived 21 years, 10 months and 14 days”.

Mould-blown glass, with Greek inscription, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Chalcedony cup in the shape of a leaf, early Roman era, Olbia, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Italic sigillata pot, with dancers and musicians, 1st century BC, with the maker’s mark, M Perennius Tigranis, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Gallic sigillata dishes, 1st century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Aristaeus with five bees, Roman era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. He was the legendary founder of beekeeping.

Bronze figurine of Jupiter as Sardus Pater, 5th-3rd century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Votive statuette of Ceres, Roman era, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Gold bracelet, second half of 3rd century AD, embossed decoration fillled with lead, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Military diploma from Dorgali, from 10th October, 96AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

St Paul, 4th/5th century, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Glass lamp, 4th/5th century AD, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

The Giants of Mont’e Prama are a group of 32/40 statues that were discovered in 1974 near Cabras in Oristano. They depict warriors, archers, wrestlers, models of nuraghe and boxers and may represent mythological heroes, or deities.  They have been speculatively dated to between the 11th and 8th centuries BC, which would make them the oldest anthropomorphic sculptures of the Mediterranean after the Egyptian statues.  They have fantastic eyes, and the boxer below looks like a cartoon of a man being hypnotised.  And he has a cute little smile and nostrils.

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

Statue of a Boxer, Mont’e Prama, Cabras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

Statue of a Boxer, Mont’e Prama, Cabras, National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

There are some more statues from Mont’e Prama upstairs, which will be covered in the next post…

Please click here for Part Three….

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