Nuraghi as ritual monuments in the Sardinian Bronze and Iron Ages (circa 1700-700 BC)

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Starting with a brief review of different theories about the residential and defensive uses of Sardinian nuraghi (monumental stone towers), the author assesses their ritual significance and functions from the standpoint of architecture and design, similarities to other cult buildings, and associated features and finds. Evidence for cult activities in certain towers has grown in recent years and is widely accepted for the Iron Age (circa 950–700 BC) and later. By contrast, ritual practices are not often recognized for the much longer period of tower construction and usage in the Bronze Age (circa 1700–950 BC). This is attributable partly to the now dominant hypothesis of a transformation in the function and status of nuraghi in the Iron Age and an assumed separation between sacred and secular buildings in the nuragic period. The author challenges this perspective while discussing the contribution of ritual to the social, economic, and political uses of nuraghi in the Bronze Age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-255
Number of pages26
JournalOpen Archaeology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2022


  • towers
  • architecture
  • religion
  • cult
  • wells


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