The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian



Rock Cut Tomb

<b>Molafa</b>Posted by JaneImage © Moth Clark
Also known as:
  • Malafa

Latitude:40° 41' 52.75" N
Longitude:   8° 31' 8.43" E

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<b>Molafa</b>Posted by Jane <b>Molafa</b>Posted by Jane <b>Molafa</b>Posted by Jane


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From the grandness of Monte D'Accoddi, a public, community monument, we set off to find a much smaller monument, perhaps a family tomb – a tiny but perfect rock cut tomb almost certain pre-dating the tombi di giganti, called Molafa. For reasons we couldn't fathom, Julian calls it Malafa, even though on the map and on the nearby railway station it's clearly called Molafa. Following Julian's instructions it is indeed '45 paces along a verdant gully'.

Just a few metres up the path there it is cut into the rock of a low cliff face that you can reach by scrambling up. Incredibly there is a natural platform directly in front of the opening to the tomb – granted not wide, but wide enough to act as an altar or sacred, ceremonial space, not unlike an esedra or forecourt.

The opening the to tomb is carved in a quite remarkable way for it echoes the pattern of a tomba di giganti stele – that is a square opening with arched top – complete with carved mullion, as I've already said pre-dating the tombi.

I would have immediately shot into the tomb had I not been diverted by a superb and friendly lime green grasshopper who needed to be admired. Insect-admiration complete, I then dived into the tomb. About 3ms long and 2ms or so wide, it's not big. But with its barrel arched ceiling reflected in the shape of the carved arch 'gable' above the portal, and integral stone bench running around the side and back walls, it is about as perfect in its simplicity as a rock cut tomb can be. Over the centuries people have lit fires in here – the ceiling is black with a thick layer of soot. It strongly reminded both me and Moth of a scaled-down version of the rock cut chambers we'd seen at Little Petra in Jordan. They had had highly complicated designs (frescoes) painted on their lofty ceilings which centuries of Bedouin fires had blackened. I could see no evidence of that here, but if it has been decorated (and why wouldn't it have been?) this ceiling was lower and more easily damaged early on in its history.

We were delighted to have found this place. It evidently gets very few visitors and it is well worth it.
Jane Posted by Jane
30th May 2008ce
Edited 1st June 2008ce