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Sardinia 2 - day trip 2

Monday morning was spent deciphering labels in the supermarket, so we didn't set out till well after noon, and definitely after breakfast! A bit of distant nuraghe spotting for Beardy, but I had to keep my eyes fully on the road as we'd taken the scenic route through Tresnuraghes and Cuglieri and Santa Lussurgiu, heading for Seneghe. Sharp bends, big drops and empty roads, hurrah!

The plan was to find two tomba to start the day. Keeping to the west of the town, we turned off where we could see Nuraghe Oppianu:

Nuraghe Oppianu — Images

<b>Nuraghe Oppianu</b>Posted by sals

and continued on the side road to find the furthest tomba.

It's opposite a track to a farm building (with locked gates) and behind this gate:

And the gate turned out, surprisingly, to be easier to scale than the wall, which was topped with barbed wire.

Sa fache 'e s'altare — Images

<b>Sa fache 'e s'altare</b>Posted by sals<b>Sa fache 'e s'altare</b>Posted by sals

Sa fache 'e s'altare — Fieldnotes

As you enter the field from the gate, the tomba is hidden - the back of it is in the nearby clump of trees, slightly to the right. It's very overgrown!

The stele is only half the size of many we'd seen, but has the relief carving around it. The corridor is long, and unusual in that it curves slightly. There's one capstone left, currently about 3/4 of the way along the corridor, though that may not be its original place.

There was a great view across to Nuraghe Maso Majore.

Maso Majore — Images

<b>Maso Majore</b>Posted by sals

We backtracked to between the two most visible nuraghe to look for a second tomba.

Arriu Pitziu — Fieldnotes

This tomba is situated just to the north of a walled enclosure for farm buildings, almost opposite Nuraghe Oppianu. The track towards the enclosure was gated and padlocked, and the undergrowth looked substantial, so knowing from our research notes that the site has yet to be excavated and the stele is missing, and that it would be difficult to see, we left this one for another time.

Then it was time to head south to Milis and east towards the SS131 again. We had several things to spot on the way, but couldn't get onto the road we wanted due to roadworks, and after turning round several times, decided to head north towards Paulilatino, and before long found ourselves signposted to Santa Cristina.

Santa Cristina — Fieldnotes

The Santa Cristina complex is right longside the SS131, just south of Paulilitino. Entry costs 5 euros for adults, and there's a cafe and bar, and souvenirs on sale, clean toilets and ample parking.

It's open from 08:30 to 22:30 (or 21:00 in the winter).

There are 3 main elements:

The centre is a Christian village, with families living in the long low buildings and a quaint church on the village square.

The most important elements though, are the holy well to the north, and the nuraghic village to the south.

There are two menhirs alongside the path to the village, and an impressive hut at a short distance from the main part of the village which is grouped around the base of the nuraghe. One of the huts here is a massive 14m long, and its interior shows the same construction style as a tomba di gigante.

Santa Cristina — Images

<b>Santa Cristina</b>Posted by sals<b>Santa Cristina</b>Posted by sals

Santa Cristina Nuraghe — Fieldnotes

The nuraghe is a simple monotower style, built of basalt blocks, and is 13m in diameter and 6m tall. The entrance is at the south east; there's a niche to the right and a flight of steps to the left as you enter. The main tholos chamber beyond has a diameter of 3.5m with 3 niches off it. The stairs climb clockwise round the tower, the first floor level giving views across the whole village.

Santa Cristina Nuraghe — Images

<b>Santa Cristina Nuraghe</b>Posted by sals

Santa Cristina Holy Well — Fieldnotes

A coachload of school children were at the well itself, so we wandered over to look at the hut beyond - a meeting hut due to the stone seat round the inside - and waited until they had gone to be able to fully appreciate the site.


An elliptical wall 26m x 20m, from the late Bronze Age, encloses the well temple. It's in 3 parts - a foyer, the steps, and then the well chamber itself.

The 24 steps are perfect. Smooth basalt, narrowing, creating a trapezoidal shape, echoed by the graduated ceiling, leading down to the well chamber.

The chamber itself has a bottle-like cross section, with the centre circular opening being about 50cm deep. The whole chamber is over 7m high and about 2.5m in diameter, again with perfectly smooth basalt blocks making a tholos style ceiling.

The water level was quite high, covering the step round the edge of the chamber.

Finds here have included a bronze ship figure, dated to 7th century BCE; the site is thought to be around 1000 BCE.

What an incredible place!

Santa Cristina Holy Well — Images

<b>Santa Cristina Holy Well</b>Posted by sals<b>Santa Cristina Holy Well</b>Posted by sals<b>Santa Cristina Holy Well</b>Posted by sals<b>Santa Cristina Holy Well</b>Posted by sals

On the way, we'd spotted a likely turning off the main road, so headed south again for almost 6km, to pick up the old main road to head north towards Paulilatino again. After about 3km, it goes under a flyover carrying the new road, and just over 2km further, on a bend, is a track, signposted - but only from the other direction - to Tomba di Gigante Mura Cuada.

Mura Cuada — Fieldnotes

Having turned off the old main road, it's about 900m up the winding track to the level crossing, with very handy spot to park. Now, in TME, JC suggests "turn right and walk along railway line 355 paces".

No! The line is in use; two trains went past while we were there!

Instead, go over the level crossing and follow the continuation of the track for 400 paces (OK, my paces are probably somewhat shorter than his!) to a gate with a crude wooden sign. Go into the field and turn to the right. Climb up towards the railway line, and the tomba will become visible, right up against the line and slightly to the right of your position.

Most of the tomba that we'd seen so far had a stele, or central stone, with a portal carved in it, flanked with orthostats making the curved facade, or esedra, of the tomb. But here, the construction is coursed masonry.

It's in a good state, considering its proximity to the railway line, though a little overgrown. The tomb is over 10m long, and the width of the esedra is similar. Beardy climbed right inside - the chamber is long and narrow, but tall enough to stand up in.

Mura Cuada — Images

<b>Mura Cuada</b>Posted by sals<b>Mura Cuada</b>Posted by sals<b>Mura Cuada</b>Posted by sals

We admired the view down the valley and walked back to the car at the level crossing, contemplating where to go next.

It was later in the day than I'd hoped, so we decided to leave several tombas nearby for a future visit, and headed back up the SS131 towards Abbasanta.

Nuraghe Losa — Fieldnotes

Nuraghe Losa is just south of Abbasanta, alongside, and signposted from, the SS131, though on a convoluted junction.

As you pull off the slip road, there's a building 50m or so to the right; this is the ticket hut, but also shop, bar etc. It's managed by Cooperativa Paleotur, and costs 3┬Żeuros to enter (reductions available). Open 09:00 - 19:00 (17:00 in winter). For once, my attempt at Italian was answered in English, and tickets and info leaflets in hand, we walked back to the turning and up the track to the main gate, about 200m in total.

The complex is enclosed by a wall, ovoid in shape and approximately 300m x 200m. Just past the gate, there's an exhibition of funery urns to the left, gathered from all over the site; Beardy found loads more of these in the long grass behind the museum huts. The track takes you through the south east entrance; there are 3 more - one opposite, and two with oval towers at the apices of the ramparts. A village within the enclosure, thought to be late Bronze Age, has only been partially excavated.

But the main attraction is the nuraghe itself. It's a trilobate structure, with huts and a curtain wall surrounding it. The upper floor has collapsed, but it's still an impressive 13m high.

The main entrance is almost hidden by a round hut (Cap 1 on the plan) with several niches and recesses in its wall. In the actual nuraghe, there's no central courtyard at we'd seen at Santu Antine, instead there's chamber C to the right and chamber B to the left. Going straight ahead, there's a niche to the right with a flight of steps opposite it, then on through to the main tholos chamber with 3 wall niches, one opposite the entrance and the others on the opposite sides, forming a cross shape.

The third smaller tower can only be reached from the small northerly entrance. It as a (gated and locked) stairway that connects back over the summit of the nuraghe.

The stairs are worn to more of a sandy uphill track, clockwise round the main tower. The smaller towers, E and F on the plan, and their connecting wall, are thought to be a later addition.

There's a modern hut in the south of the enclosure with an exhibition of finds from here and other local sites.

The site has been dated to as early as 1400 BCE; it was investigated in 1898 and again in 1915, but the main excavation and restoration works were carried out between 1970 and 1976.

Nuraghe Losa — Images

<b>Nuraghe Losa</b>Posted by sals<b>Nuraghe Losa</b>Posted by sals<b>Nuraghe Losa</b>Posted by sals

I'd planned to stop again at the ticket hut and ask about nearby sites - if you draw a circle round Abbasanta with a radius of 20km, there's enough sites to find to keep me busy for several weeks! - and work out which were more locatable, accessible and worthwhile, but the busload of school children we'd seen earlier at Santa Cristina had arrived and were dripping icecream everywhere, so we headed home instead.
sals Posted by sals
14th May 2008ce
Edited 18th May 2008ce

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