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Sardinina 2 trip 4 afternoon - saving the best till last

We stopped for a picnic lunch as we'd arrived a bit early for our first afternoon visit. The sign said 3pm; we waited till 10 past and then climbed over the low wall. 10 mins or so later, a car pulled up at the entrance, and we waved, and walked back.

Romanzesu — Fieldnotes

Clearly signposted from the 389 between Bitti and Budduso; there's a left turn (if heading north) a couple of km north of the junction to/from Nule and Benetutti. Then 3km on single track lane, but actually a reasonable road and signposted all the way.

The site is open 09:00-13:00 and 15:00-19:00 (Sundays 09:30-13:00 and 14:30-19:00) with 3 guided tours run in each half day. Entry is 3.10 euros for adults with various reductions available. The ticket office is the hut on the carpark; we signed the guest book and were lent a plan of and guide to the site. There'd only been one other visitor all day, and unsurprisingly, we had the place to ourselves for the afternoon.

The complex covers 7 hectares, in a beautiful, if rather windy, spot, with cork oaks and clearings with dappled sunlight. About 20 huts are visible, though there are over 100, and there are 3 temple buildings and a sacred well, each listed separately. The grid reference given for the whole site is that of the entrance to it.

Straight in front of you, the first thing you see is the sacred enclosure with a couple of small huts beyond it, and the megaron temples to the right; following the path ahead goes to the main part of the complex, with the rectangular temple and holy well. The other main features here are huts with niches and hearths, and low benches round their interior walls; one hut is unusual in that is has a central dividing wall, and there's also the "great hut" divided into rooms.

Romanzesu — Images

<b>Romanzesu</b>Posted by sals<b>Romanzesu</b>Posted by sals<b>Romanzesu</b>Posted by sals

Megaron Temple A — Fieldnotes

The first megaron temple is near the entrance and sacred enclosure. It has a vestibule and then the main room with an L shaped stone bench round 2 walls and a place for offerings. The back walls of the temple are extended, as we saw at Serra Orrios, and the information boards show the structure originally with a steeply pitched roof.

Megaron Temple A — Images

<b>Megaron Temple A</b>Posted by sals<b>Megaron Temple A</b>Posted by sals

Megaron Temple B — Fieldnotes

Temple B is of the same construction as Megaron Temple A, and is a short walk up the path behind it. It's almost surrounded by cork oaks and is right next to a huge rocky outcrop.

Megaron Temple B — Images

<b>Megaron Temple B</b>Posted by sals<b>Megaron Temple B</b>Posted by sals

Rectangular Temple — Fieldnotes

The third temple at Romanzesu is different in that it's rectangular (you'd never guess from its name!) with its entrance half way along one of its longer sides. It's in the lower part of the site, in the trees to the right as you head towards the well.

Rectangular Temple — Images

<b>Rectangular Temple</b>Posted by sals

Poddi Arvu — Fieldnotes

Wow! Until visiting Santa Cristina I'd not been to any holy wells anywhere, and much as that one had impressed me with its sharp lines, this just, well, words just about fail me to describe how stunning this place is.

Check out the pictures!

The well itself is a tholos construction with steps up - to a long passage guarded by betili, with steps / seats to the left and a bank to the right with a path along the top - and leading on to the most spectactular amphitheatre with banked seating all the way round and a clearing beyond that.

Was water brought to the waiting "congregation", or was a journey made from the amphitheatre to the well? Which ever way, the passage had an electric sensation about it ....

By far, my favourite place of the trip. I could have spent hours here.

Poddi Arvu — Images

<b>Poddi Arvu</b>Posted by sals<b>Poddi Arvu</b>Posted by sals<b>Poddi Arvu</b>Posted by sals<b>Poddi Arvu</b>Posted by sals

On the way out, we checked with the lady on duty about our next planned stop, and she confirmed that it would be easy enough to find the tombas we were looking for.

Narrowly avoiding a man riding biggest donkey I've ever seen on the lane out, we went back to the main road and headed north once more, on completely deserted roads, for just over 8km. It felt like no one had been through the area in months. We parked under the shade of a copse of trees to check out what would be the last site group of the holiday:

Loelle — Fieldnotes

On the 389 from Bitti to Budduso, you can't, and indeed shouldn't, miss this one.

The site has good information boards and the section further from the road has stone tables and benches, ideal for a picnic.

There's the remains of round huts around the nuraghe, the nuraghe itself - stunning! - and two tombas to be found here.

Loelle — Images

<b>Loelle</b>Posted by sals

Nuraghe Loelle — Fieldnotes

By this point in our trip, we were fairly well "nuraghe'd out" and had ignored many over the previous few days. They are everywhere! But this is a curious construction.

It's built into a rocky outcrop, and there's a side entrance to a cave underneath.

The main entrance leads to stairs winding round to the right, and reaching the first floor level above the doorway. A second flight goes up to the top, and a passage way ahead leads to a room with two niches in the wall, and then a very impressive second flight of stairs back down again - leading currently nowhere, but possibly a way into the now inaccessible main chamber of the nuraghe.

Climbing to the top gives a great view of the rest of the settlement, and the cows grazing in the field.

Nuraghe Loelle — Images

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

Loelle I — Fieldnotes

Nuraghe Loelle is at a cross roads; diagonally opposite it, right up against the (minor) road, you'll find the first tomba di gigante associated with the settlement here.

It's a tiny little one! Yet impressive. The esedra consists now of 5 stones, pale at the bottom and grey at the top, with a distinct bench along the front as we'd seen at many of sites.

The corridor leads back towards the road, its inner edges well defined but the outer part of the tomb only really visible on its right hand side.

Loelle I — Images

<b>Loelle I</b>Posted by sals<b>Loelle I</b>Posted by sals<b>Loelle I</b>Posted by sals

A car screeched to a halt beside us, the occupants calling out - Beardy shrugged and called "Inglese" to which they responded "want to buy some cheese?" Local farmers touting for business!

Loelle II — Fieldnotes

From Loelle I, there's a track into the woods with a series of stones set upright to mark the way. It's 215 paces to the second tomb - the grid reference might by slightly off, but the path takes you there. It's hidden in the trees, and is difficult to photograph!

You approach the rear of the tomb first, but round the front it's possible to make out at least the left hand wing of the esedra. The corridor is clearly defined with an end stone in place.

Loelle II — Images

<b>Loelle II</b>Posted by sals

By this point, we'd passed most of the places I'd earmarked as potential overnight stops and the day was drawing on, so we opted to drive to the north east, past numerous domus de janus signs round bustling Budduso, and returned to the Riva Azzura in Cannigione (where we'd stayed the previous year) to relax for the remainder of the week, sitting in bars and cafes, watching the world go by, and the European Porsche Owners Club parading their gas guzzlers up the coast.

Just over 1000km on the hire car, no dents and fortunately no nasty noises this time .....

I'm already plotting a third visit to this fascinating island - we've hardly seen anything in the north west, and could easily spend a fortnight in the central area around Abbasanta and Macomer - and I haven't even started researching the south yet.


Sardinina 2 trip 4 - morning

After 5 nights in Porto Alabe, it was time to drive east. We wanted to be within an hour's drive of Olbia airport on our last night, and hadn't booked anything for the final two nights of our week, so planned to visit a few places on the way and stop whenever we felt like it.

We drove through the village of Tinnura, and stopped to photograph the amazing murals on its main street. Just about every building is painted!

I'd reasonably good information on sites near Birori, just east of Macomer, and we'd left the area purposely to investigate on the "drive to somewhere new day". It turned out not to be the best decision. On the main road, I spotted a map, and was pleased to find the same map on the info board at out first stop of the day.

We could have spent a couple of days within the few square km shown! There are numerous dolmen and tomba road signs round the village, and we accidentally ended up at a cross roads, with our intended stop behind us, a tomba to the north, and lots more straight across. We went north.

Lassia — Fieldnotes

Our first tomba of the day, and an unusual one in that is has two pairs of side cells off its corridor. The entrance to the tomba is away from the road, though the back has fallen so you can see right the way through.

The right hand wing of the esedra has been lost in the field; the left side forms part of the field boundary.

The info board showed a tomba in the field directly opposite, but we couldn't spot it and didn't investigate too closely as there were numerous dogs barking at us from the farm next door, but as usual no one in sight for us to ask.

Lassia — Images

<b>Lassia</b>Posted by sals<b>Lassia</b>Posted by sals<b>Lassia</b>Posted by sals

A quick U turn, and we went south, this time taking the turn signposted to Sarbogadas and various other places.

Sarbodagas fieldnotes here

Sarbogadas — Images

<b>Sarbogadas</b>Posted by sals<b>Sarbogadas</b>Posted by sals<b>Sarbogadas</b>Posted by sals

We dithered, contemplating continuing south in search of more dolmens but opted to head back towards Birori. Checking my maps later, I realised we'd been so close to Nuraghe Porcarzos and the Serbine dolmens we'd looked for a few days earlier.

Back to the crossroads, and I decided to go straight over back the way we'd come, as there had definitely been signs for another dolmen and a tomba. We parked, and tried in vain to find Noazza I tomba di gigante. On instinct, I decided to try the fork in the road we'd ignored on the way to Lassia and Sarbogadas; it's a loop that goes back into the village, and was the right choice.

Noazza I — Fieldnotes

From the fork in the road, it's just over 250 metres, and just past a house on the right, to the field the dolmen is in on the left. The signpost was lying in the long grass - Beardy picked it up and put in on the wall - but an info board (a little too weary from the sun to be of much use) confirmed we were in the right place.

No one had been here for a while, from the height of the grass and wild flowers!

It actually took us quite a while to find the dolmen ..... from the road, there's a narrow strip before the field opens out. From the end of this strip, there are two distinct clumps of trees ahead - go between them and look for a stone kerb on your left. There's a rocky outcrop at the end of the kerb, and I spotted, buried in the grass, a bright yellow "DOLMEN" sign. Look to your left and you should see the capstone.

Noazza I — Images

<b>Noazza I</b>Posted by sals<b>Noazza I</b>Posted by sals

Back to the centre of the village next:

Palatu — Fieldnotes

This tomba is right in Birori - it reminded us of the cairn circle at Aviemore for its proximity to the houses.

To find it, go to the centre of the village where, at a cross roads, there's a couple of shops. Turn to the north; the first, almost immediate, left turn goes into a parking area - we asked directions here - and were told to take the second left instead, and follow the road round. The tomb is signposted from here, with modern development all around. Look for the pink neon hotel sign to help you locate it, if lost.

The grasscutters were out with strimmers in the village, but hadn't reached the site yet, so we were waist deep in grass at many points.

The tomb is sizeable - approx 17m long and 12m wide; there's no stele, but the corridor has two side niches opposite each other, a feature that we'd only seen at Lassia nearby. There's a bench along the front of the esedra, and the walls of the corridor angle in towards each other.

The esedra in particular is easy to see is of double walled construction, with the cavity filled with smaller stones, rubble and earth.

Palatu — Images

<b>Palatu</b>Posted by sals<b>Palatu</b>Posted by sals<b>Palatu</b>Posted by sals

Nuraghe Miuddu — Fieldnotes

If you are heading west on the 129 towards Macomer, this is what you'll find at the first junction you come across for Birori.

There's no way in; there are two collapsed small tholos rooms on its south side, so the chances are it's at least a trilobate if not quadrilobate structure.

There are some village huts visible in the long grass around the nuraghe too.

Nuraghe Miuddu — Images

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

Miuddu — Fieldnotes

From Nuraghe Miuddu, head to the gate where you enter the field and then the corner beyond it. Follow the edge of the field south - there'll be a hedgerow to your left - and climb the (low) wire fence at the end. Now clamber over the big rocky outcrop to the right. The tomba is on the slope just below and to the right a bit.

Quite ruinous, with a bush growing right in front of the centre of the esedra. There's one capstone still in place - the views from here are incredible!

Miuddu — Images

<b>Miuddu</b>Posted by sals

Beardy was keen to check out a similar pairing of nuraghe and tomba just about 1km back, but we had a fair way to go to somewhere I knew I had to see, so we headed on east and then north, along deserted roads with flyovers to nowhere ....


Sardinia 2 trip 3

Tuesday had been earmarked for lazing on the beach, but a grey cloudy sky meant a change of plans.

The first stop of the day was relatively local, and indeed signposted from the SS131's turn to Bosa. Rather than going into Macomer (or indeed turning right to Bosa opposite Nuraghe Ruju) after turning off the main road, continue straight ahead signposted Cagliari. Under the flyover, round the bend and then a sharp right turn uphill - there's a signpost here too. Take it steady - it's mainly single track with passing places but we met a couple of large wagons coming the other way - for just over 4km, and you'll find the car park for Tamuli on the right.

Tamuli — Fieldnotes

Signposted from nearby Macomer, this is a complex site. The grid reference given is for the car park / ticket hut; each of the main elements is being listed as a subsite.

Ticket hut, tardis-style portaloo, list of prices (5 euros / 3½ euros), but no opening times and no one in sight. The posters did warn that anyone entering outside the opening times did so at their own risk and if found there, would be liable to pay the entrance fee. Fair enough! We climbed the gate and followed the track up the (gentle) hill.

Tamuli — Images

<b>Tamuli</b>Posted by sals

Tamuli Tomba C — Fieldnotes

As you go up the hill to Tamuli, the first tomba, known as tomba C, is to the right.

It's the smallest of the 3 here, and is irregular in shape. It's hard to work it out, but there is a narrow corridor, and the front of the grave has a paved forecourt but is missing the typical esedra. Remains found outside it have dated it to 1500 - 1200 BCE.

Tamuli Tomba C — Images

<b>Tamuli Tomba C</b>Posted by sals<b>Tamuli Tomba C</b>Posted by sals

Tamuli Tomba B — Fieldnotes

The second grave, tomba B, is more impressive than the first. Though ruinous, it's easy to see the esedra, or winged forecourt, with a width of 14.5m. The corridor is paved with square stone slabs.

The whole tomb is almost 17½m long, and has a long low bench surrounding out. Finds from inside date it similarly to tomba C.

Tamuli Tomba B — Images

<b>Tamuli Tomba B</b>Posted by sals<b>Tamuli Tomba B</b>Posted by sals

Tamuli Tomba A — Fieldnotes

The largest and most impressive of the 3 tombas, also known as "Betyls' Grave" due to its proximity to the 6 menhirs (betyls or betili).

As at tomba B, there's a bench along the esedra - this time its maximum width is over 20m. The total length is over 22m, and the burial corridor itself is 9.5m x 1.3m.

The thick walls are actually 2 walls with the cavity between them filled with rubble and earth.

The entrance to the corridor has a stone with a round cornered rectangle carved out of it - only one side remains, but it appears to be the portal to the grave.

The information boards show a reconstruction - a tomba made from courses of stone as we'd seen at Mura Cuada rather than those with a stele as at Coddu Vecchju.

Tamuli Tomba A — Images

<b>Tamuli Tomba A</b>Posted by sals<b>Tamuli Tomba A</b>Posted by sals<b>Tamuli Tomba A</b>Posted by sals

Tamuli Betili — Fieldnotes

Right next to Tomba A you find what's probably the most famous feature of the site - the 6 betili.

They were recorded by Count Albert de la Marmora but his notes give different positions, so they may well not be in their original place.

The 3 to the south represent the female figure, with obvious carved breasts; they are also taller, at just over 1.5m, than the males (1.23m - 1.38m) to the north. All are cone-shaped basalt.

Tamuli Betili — Images

<b>Tamuli Betili</b>Posted by sals

Nuraghe Tamuli — Fieldnotes

The nuraghe at Tamuli is on a high point beyond the 3 tombas and the betili. It's surrounded by huts, the most impressive of these being at the end of the path beyond the nuraghe.

The nuraghe itself, we were warned on the info boards, is unsafe due to landslides, and it has been roped and fenced off.

Nuraghe Tamuli — Images

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

The plan for the day was tombas, tombas and more tombas. I'd a lot of research notes (as usual, Babelfished translations, so interesting reading!) on an area just the far side of Abbasanta, so we headed cross country to Sedillo.

Iloi — Fieldnotes

This group - consisting of 2 tomba di gigante, a nuraghe and village around it, a dolmen and a domus de janus - is just west of Sedillo, and is signposted from the town.

I was rather excited about what we'd find here, and in the vicinity, and hoped that there would be someone around to ask ..... there are 3 huts which look distinctly like a visitors' centre, ticket hut, and toilets, respectively, but not a soul in sight. No notices either, but I assume an entrance fee is payable.

From the parking area, the two tombs are to the south, overlooking Lake Omodeo, the nuraghe and village to the north, but the domus de janus and dolmen remain a mystery to us.

My notes said that the domus de janus - Ispiluncas - consisting of 34 tombs - is "on the slopes of the hill where the nuraghe rises" and my Google Earth map showed it on the slope below the info/ticket huts. I had a grid reference for the dolmen - the wrong grid reference! - and a description of its location "the monument is found to the right of the nuraghic complex".

Iloi Tomba B — Fieldnotes

For the modern ticket / info huts, the first thing you see is the perfect curves of the back of tomba B - and the amazing view over Lake Omodeo. The lake however was created around 1920 with a dam across the Tirso, so the original vista would have been over the valley, with its numerous nuraghe, some of which reappear when the water level is low.

The corridor is about 10m x 1.4m and is paved with huge stone slabs. The grave is impressive but not well preserved; in the small copse of trees there are several huge pieces of carved stone which once belonged to it.

Iloi Tomba B — Images

<b>Iloi Tomba B</b>Posted by sals<b>Iloi Tomba B</b>Posted by sals

Iloi Tomba A — Fieldnotes

Smaller than tomba B, but better preserved, this grave is only metres away with an incredible view over the lake.

The esedra is over 11m wide, and its stones are leaning forward towards the lake. The broken centre slab has a portal hatch 70cm x 55cm. The funery corridor (inside dimensions 4.7m x 0.8m) is perfectly formed and the rear of the grave has the same style of curved stones as its neighbour.

Iloi Tomba A — Images

<b>Iloi Tomba A</b>Posted by sals<b>Iloi Tomba A</b>Posted by sals<b>Iloi Tomba A</b>Posted by sals

Nuraghe Iloi — Fieldnotes

On the opposite side of the road is a large gate to the nuraghe and the village which surrounds it. The village huts are a more recent discovery, and the best preserved one can be seen by taking the path between the two roped off sections of village towards the trees north of the nuraghe.

The nuraghe itself is of mixed type (part tholos, part corridor). Through its entrance on the south eastern side, there's a tholos chamber with an impresive niche in the facing wall. To the left, the stairs to the rest of the building have been roped off as it's unsafe due to landslides.

Nuraghe Iloi — Images

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

We waded through waist-high grass in search of the domus de janus and dolmen for quite a while, but eventually gave up and decided to see what we could find nearby.

The next stop was Nuraghe Lighei.

Nuraghe Lighei — Fieldnotes

An impressive looking monotower nuraghe north west of Sedillo. It's 8.2m tall with a diameter of 14m.

My research notes describe it as being constructed from red basalt; the easterly entrance has a niche to one side and steps to the left leading to the (destroyed) upper level, and leads through to a prefect tholos chamber (5.3m diameter, 7m tall) with 3 niches arranged to form a cruciform with the entrance passage.

However, the field and particularly the area around the nuraghe had the largest, most brutal, thistles we'd seen so far, so we viewed from a distance but had a look around the field and the vicinity to see if we could see its associated tomba - we couldn't.

Nuraghe Lighei — Images

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

The plan was to locate the site as Santu Antinu 'E Campu - the information associated with the Sedillo area map told of 3 tombi, a nuraghe, a necropolis, a holy well, and a church. Surely not hard to find ..... but we had a dubious grid reference, a pencil mark on one of my maps with a question mark next to it, and no one in site, not even the owners of the pack (OK, there were 4 of them, but that's enough, I think!) of barking dogs, to ask for directions.

So, back to the main road, round Sedillo .... ah, too far round and turn round again and try a different road. We eventually made the right choice, searching for two more tombi, a well, and two nuraghe at Busoro.

Nuraghe Busoro — Images

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

We found the nuraghe, in a field with large signs which we took to be "no trespassing", so decided to try to find something we'd seen signposted from an earlier junction - Puntanarcu holy well.

We took the road from Sedillo to Noragugume, expecting the signposting to continue; several km later, we spotted a brown sign - but to Nuraghe Tolinu instead. Well, seeing as we were there .....

Nuraghe Tolinu — Fieldnotes

There's an impressive high bastion wall adjoinging the nuraghe. It's very overgrown, but you can make out the upper level of the tower, and in the undergrowth, what appears to be the top of the entrance into its lower level.

Nuraghe Tolinu — Images

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

We contemplated trying to find Puntanarcu, or indeed any of the numerous sites in the vicinity, but decided to head towards home instead, vowing to come back to the area around Sedillo on a future visit, hopefully with a local expert and/or some better research notes. You could spend days here!

We'd just joined the SS131 at Borore and were heading north when we spotted a brown sign ..... two minutes later we were heading south, to take the alternative route home - it's a one way sign and we'd never noticed it as we'd always been going from Macomer to Borore.

Uore — Images

<b>Uore</b>Posted by sals

Uore — Fieldnotes

There's a signpost from the main road, and then another one at a bend with a side turn only a few metres later. Then nothing. We drove on, through a flock of sheep across the road, and on, and eventually found someone to ask. He directed us back to Borore instead of his local tomba! A quick U turn, and back through the sheep again. We stopped again at the sign, and turned again, determined to find it. Back through the sheep, but this time we took a side turn to the left and parked just before the stream. The field in front of us had a rocky plateau with some ruined buildings, but not what we were looking for - so we set of up the lane on foot. Beardy went left and I went straight on, and found someone to ask. "Scusi, io non parlo Italiano. Dove è tomba di gigante Uore?" He didn't know, or I couldn't understand. So back to the car and back through the sheep.
Now, turn to page 444 of your copy of TME; the middle image is Uore. Now located by the power of Wikimaps. We should have been on the other side of the road, but only metres away. Pah!

Despite the day being overcast and quite gloomy, by the time we got back to our apartment and made dinner, there was a glorious sunset to watch from the terrace, glass of wine in hand.


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

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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

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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 3½euros 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

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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.


Second Sardinian Adventure - Day 1

Time for our next Mediterranean trip .... having enjoyed last year's visit to Sardinia so much, and with a cheap airline starting a new route from our local airport, we'd booked the first possible flight and packed the unused research notes .....

Arriving into Olbia in the early afternoon, we picked up a hire car and headed south and west on the main road, managing not to fall into our usual habit of arguing about directions, and by tea time had finally found a cashpoint that didn't reject our cards, and checked into our beach front apartment ready to spend a few days exploring a new area - the towns of Macomer and Abbasanta and their surroundings.

Advantages of it being low season: apartment upgrade, very quiet and peaceful
Disadvantage: the village was almost closed!

The local bar rustled us up a meal (choice: pizza or pasta!) and a beer, and we watched the sun set over a stunning beach sharing a bottle of wine, and planned our first day.

We'd spotted several impressive looking nuraghe on the way to the apartment, including

Nuraghe Santa Barbara — Fieldnotes

Visible from, and signposted from, the fast SS131 that runs vertically down the island. However only accessible when going north - the road bends quite sharply around Macomer and then heads west and uphill - watch out for the sign to the right.

We always seemed to be on the wrong side of the road, or heading home late after a full day, so never did stop to investigate.

Margaret Guido, in "Sardinia: Ancient Peoples and Places" describes the site as "an early tower, with niches, guard-chamber and staircase has a four-towered addition each of whose towers contains a tholos chamber". It's one of her recommended places to visit.

but our first actual stop was a little nearer our base south of Bosa.

Nuraghe Sèrras — Fieldnotes

Standing prominently on a hill overlooking the main road (obviously new, as it didn't exist on our map) from Macomer to the resort of Bosa, south of the village of Sindia.

We parked up and fought our way through the hip high grass, thistles and brambles, over stone walls, and ended up in a field still a way away, with no obvious access route, so had to be content with viewing from a distance. There were quite a few (sheep, I suspect) skulls and other bones in the field, and we spent quite a time watching the wildlife, including a dung beetle with a sphere much larger than it was, both of us contemplating picking up a souvenir or two for a certain friend .....

Nuraghe Sèrras — Images

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Beetle photo courtesy of Beardy.

Beardy got out his binoculars and scanned the horizon spotting several more nuraghi - not surprising as the density in the area is more than 0.6 per square km (Lilliu) - and I dug out my new telephoto lens to zoom in on:

Nuraghe Nela — Images

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Back towards Macomer, and we pulled in again to get a few photos of Nuraghe Succoronis - there is a path leading from the main road but it was chained and padlocked, even though it theoretically was open on a Sunday.

Nuraghe Succoronis — Images

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

After numerous level crossings, we reached the T head and chose to go right towards Macomer rather than back to the main road, pulling in to hopefully visit Nuraghe Ruju and Domus de Janus Filigosa - both, according to my notes, managed by a cooperative, and due to be open. Or not!

Nuraghe Ruju — Images

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Accompanied by couple of small friendly ankle-licking dogs who'd been chilling out beside the grim-looking hospital, I was all ready to jump the low wall as the sign said it was supposed to be open (I'd learnt the days of the week in Italian specially, after being scuppered by lack of such knowledge in Spanish on a trip to Mallorca) but Beardy insisted that we shouldn't, and should instead head to find the first, for this holiday, of the site type that fascinates us both, the tomba di gigante.

We crossed over the SS131 south of Macomer, and headed towards Borore - but instead of turning into the town, continued along the main road towards Dualchi until we reached the left turn at Nuraghe Toscono, and parked in the shade of the trees infront of the old church. Leaving the nuraghe for the moment, we followed the road on, to the gate with an info board about both sites.

Santu Bainzu — Images

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Santu Bainzu — Fieldnotes

The tomba of Santu Bainzu has an impressive stele, or central stone, standing 3.2 metres tall and just over 2m wide. It's relief carved, as we'd seen at Coddu Vecchju and Li Lolghi, but this time with the addition of a large cupmark above the portal (the portal being approx 30cm tall by 50cm wide).

Not much remains of the esedra, and the low lying stones were partically hidden in the long grass and wild flowers.

The funerary space can be clearly identified at the rear of the stele; of the cist, about 6m x 1m remains, though the origial construction is thought to have been almost 14m long.

If you zoom in on the info board, you'll see that this area had a village too, based around the nuraghe. We didn't notice any particular features of this as we backtracked to the tower.

Nuraghe Toscono — Images

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Nuraghe Toscono — Fieldnotes

About half way between the church and the road junction is a gate giving easy access to the nuraghe, through a field of tall grasses and flowers, with the occasional thistle.

The entrance to this simple monotower nuraghe faces the road - I climbed up and in, noticing a collapsed roof (or possibly the original entrance on further reading) to the left. To the right, and much lower down, there was another shaft of light but with a black void between it and me. Cursing the lack of foresight to pack a torch, I felt my way carefully down the uneven 'staircase' to an anti-chamber which opened onto the main chamber with 3 side chambers and a collapsed tholos roof.

I'd spent rather too much time playing with Google Earth and this area was included on one of my many screen dumps, so we planned a circuituitous route round and back to Borore .... starting to think about stopping there for a late breakfast as we'd so far failed to find an open shop, it being a Sunday.

The next stop was another nuraghe:

Nuraghe Porcarzos — Images

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Nuraghe Porcarzos — Fieldnotes

Approaching this nuraghe from the road, there's a path with drystone walls on both sides - and the view doesn't inspire. But as I approached, I could make out some impressive walls and a path round what we worked out is the back of the nuraghe. Round the front, it becomes clearer - a long walled approach and then access to the main chamber from the first floor level only, with two side towers both with collapsed tholos roofs. The actual entrance was propped with scaffolding poles so we decided to err on the side of caution and not enter, instead climbing up to the highest point - using a flight of steps above the left hand side collapse - and peering down into the chambers.

The nuraghe has 4 side towers, sited asymetrically, though we were unable to access the rear two. Despite another scaff pole being visible through the floor of the right side tower, I climbed down - it's at second floor level - to admire the flights of stairs up the the roof, and a double set leading back down to the forecourt of the main chamber.

The field we had to cross before Nuraghe Porcarzos had plenty of what we soon realised was the most common plant we'd bump into - literally ....


and some interesting wildlife

From here, the next planned visit was to 2 dolmens just to the north. I had a grid reference, but was unsure of its accuracy ..... we pulled up at roughly the right place and wandered down a track, until the boggy ground and a loose bull in the field made us turn back - and I spotted a likely looking sign on the road further ahead.

Serbine domus de janus - pointing across a walled field with no obvious entry or crossing route, and no obvious site to aim for. Talking of aiming for - notice the condition of the sign.

We decided to leave investigating the area to someone else!

One more nuraghe was on the map (there are so many more unsignposted!) before the town:

Nuraghe Bighinzones — Images

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Nuraghe Bighinzones — Fieldnotes

Just to the east of Borore, on the road which takes you to Santu Bainzu and Nuraghe Toscono is Nuraghe Bighinzones.

It's a quadrilobate structure, similar to Nuraghe Porcarzos but with symmetrically arranged side towers ... not that you can tell, as it's buried to beyond the height of the side towers and only the central one is visible. Climbing to the top, you can look down through the collapsed tholos roof to the interior of the tower, and some of the entrances to the side chambers can be seen.

We parked up carefully opposite a bar in Borore, in search of a drink and snack. No food available, so sat outside in the sunshine with a bottle of pop each and watched locals arrive to watch the football being shown inside and pretty much abandon their cars part way across the road. An elderly gentleman appeared from the next door building and started chatting - and kept chatting to us even after we'd used our stock phrase "Scusi, io non parlo Italiano. Io sono Inglese."

Then back to the main road, to the turn to Sedillo where the next two sites were clearly visible.

Nuraghe Imbertighe — Images

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

Nuraghe Imbertighe — Fieldnotes

In a farmyard only metres east of Imbertighe tomba.

Imbertighe — Images

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Imbertighe — Fieldnotes

Imbertighe tomba di gigante has an impressive curved esedra made of small blocks, and a relief carved stele standing 3.6m high.

The body of the tomb was originally 11.5m long, but there's very little to see of it on site. The info board says it's been destroyed; my research notes say it's still buried.

For the first time all day, there were other visitors to the site! Two Italian speaking women joined us in the field and posed for photos in front of the stele for each other.

Though feeling weary - and hungry! - we decided to make one more visit, to a tomba less than 1.5km away as the crow flies.

Perdalonga e Figu — Images

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Perdalonga e Figu — Fieldnotes

From Borore, head towards the SS131. At the big junction and flyover, take the first left, signposted to Flor Mirko (nursery / garden centre) and head south on the old main road.

The tomba is signposted from this road and its turn is directly opposite Flor Mirko - as you turn, there's a farmyard infront, and the track you want goes to the left.

We drove cautiously on for about 300m, and then spotted the stele in the corner of a field on a S bend ahead. There's a track to pull into / turn round in just before the first corner, and a similar space opposite the second.

And what a stele! Broken vertically. Has it been intact, it would probably be among the largest on the island. It's 3.8m high, and the remaining part is 1.9m wide - originally about 4m wide.

The tomba is right up against the field/road boundary, and the left hand side of the esedra is almost non-existant because of this.

The body of the tomba runs parallel to the boundary and there are 9 of the original 12 side stones still in place, half buried in the long grass, forming a corridor 8.8m x 1.2m.

As we visited, the local farmer appeared to clear the field of sheep and gave us a friendly wave.

Then it was time to head back to base, finally having breakfast on the beach at Bosa Marina at 5pm. We vowed find an open shop and pack a picnic for the next day trip!
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Yorkshire based stone searcher and Cope music fan with intentions to be tidy and green, and with a fondness for baking.
Married to Beardy - at Castlerigg - and honeymooned round Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, and the Western Isles.
Recently taken to European excursions.

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