Archaeology Odyssey 6:2, March/April 2003

Villages of Stone

Sardinia’s Bronze Age Nuraghi

By Robert H. Tykot

“It lies outside; outside the circuit of civilisation.” That’s how D.H. Lawrence described Sardinia in Sea and Sardinia (1923), and until recently that’s what many thought about this island: During the third and second millennia B.C., Sardinia remained isolated from the vibrant cultures of the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean.

Decades of archaeological research, however, paint a different picture. Not only did the Bronze Age Sardinians maintain contact with the Minoans and Mycenaeans, but they may also have migrated to the Near East. Many scholars identify a people called the Shardana, mentioned in a number of Egyptian texts, as Sardinians (see the sidebar to this article). Pharaoh Ramesses II (1279–1212 B.C.) complained that the Shardana “came boldly in their warships from the midst of the sea, none being able to withstand them.”

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