anghelu ruju alghero totalguer

The Anghelu Ruju Necropolis

Area interesse: Archaeological Sites
Area interesse: Archaeological Sites

In a place called Li Piani, close to the Filibertu river, you will find the Anghelu Ruju Necropolis which, with its 38 tombs, is the biggest in Sardinia. The necropolis was discovered by chance during digging works in the Sella & Mosca vineyards.

The entrances to the hypogea, which are also called “Domus de janas” i.e. the fairies’ caves, are of two types. The oldest is the pit entrance, the other corridor entrance with a corridor, almost always with steps, leading to the tomb.

The tombs are divided into cells in sandstone and could hold up to 30 corpses, some lying on their backs, others reduced in volume by stripping off the flesh or by semi-cremation.

The necropolis was used as a burial place from the last part of the Neolithic Age (3300 B.C.) until the first part of the Bronze Age. This period includes some cultures of which the first was the Ozieri culture, named after the town where excavations have brought to light some very fine, thin and smooth ceramics with spiral decorations impressed in the clay. We can find remains of these ceramics all over Sardinia. The last culture is called the Bonnannaro culture (1800 B.C.) and has left a few finds in bronze.

The characteristic elements of the necropolis carved in the walls of the hypogea are the false doors serving the purpose to connect the world of the living to the world of the dead. The other element is the taurine horns representing the Bull god, symbol of virility who, together with the Mother goddess, was at the centre of the pre-nuragic creed. The bull horns, symbol of strength and energy, were carved to watch over the sleep of the dead but also of the living coming to the tombs to celebrate their funeral rites.

The members of the community used to honour the dead by eating a meal in front of the hypogea. Rests of seashells, bones, ashes and coal were found near the tombs.

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