Necropolis of Anghelu Ruju

Alghero, Italy

The necropolis of Anghelu Ruju is an archaeological site located in the town of Alghero. It is the largest necropolis of pre-Nuragic Sardinia.

The necropolis was discovered accidentally in 1903 during the excavations for the construction of a farmhouse. In that occasion were found a human skull and a tripod vessel. Following these discoveries, the archaeologist Antonio Taramelli effected, the following year, the first excavations of the site. In total were discovered 38 domus de janas.

Within the many chambers are numerous finds of grave goods (vases, statuettes of the hypothesized 'mother goddess', weapons, necklace beads etc.), which allow us to date the necropolis to the Late Neolithic (Ozieri culture 3200-2800 BC) and they attest its use even in the Copper and the early Bronze Age, between 2800 and 1600 BC, (cultures of Abealzu-Filigosa, Monte Claro, Bell Beaker, Bonnanaro). Furthermore, finds of flint tools, mace-heads, arrowheads, axes and beads suggest a culture which emphasized hunting and warrior prowess; whereas silver rings, copper daggers appearing to originate from Spain, an awl which likely was from southern France, a copper ring of an eastern European style, and an axe which was from the British Isles indicate that Sardinia was heavily involved in this time period with a great deal of international trade. The Sardinians, for their part, were known to possess an ample amount of valuable obsidian from Monte Arci, a long-dormant volcano on the island.

Among the most striking features of the Necropolis are the numerous carvings of long-horned bulls' heads, in and around at least three of the tombs. These have been hypothesized to support the 'Mother Goddess' theory, as well as to suggest a sort of a Sun cult.



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Alghero, Italy
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Founded: 3200-1600 BCE
Category: Cemeteries, mausoleums and burial places in Italy

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User Reviews

Radu Savin (2 years ago)
Very interesting site if you like necropolis (City of the dead)! For those who don't, it might be a bit boring. We were looking for bull horns and other decorations described on the pannels, but we didn't success. Just in one of the last tombs we enter, we were able to see a pair of bull horns!
Emily Kellert (2 years ago)
Incredible to see! Must do if you're in Alghero. You should buy the combined ticket with Palmera too... it's 8€
Gabi S (2 years ago)
Impressive 6000 years old tombs. Must see. The architecture of these eternal abodes is often decorated with details inspired from the homes of the living (steps, pillars, cornices, false architraves, false doors, false windows, etc.) and the moss that now covers the walls, nowadays lit up by the sun rays that creep through and warm up the hard stone at that depth where darkness doesn’t mean lack of light, hides traces of red ochre, as red as the blood which symbolises life.
Joshua Packer (2 years ago)
This place was empty and there is little shade, that being said the grave rooms are right out of Indiana Jones. There are about 10 burial chambers. You can peer in but your not supposed to enter. If you have the super pass from Neptune's cave, this is a definite stop. Also if your only one or two travelers paying to enter and it's not to hot this would be a good stop. If you don't have the pass it can be expensive for a family of four. Of the extra sites on the super pass, this was one of the better ones.
Alfredo (2 years ago)
A leap into the past in Anghelu Ruju and Palmavera. Beginning over 3000 BC. A culture that blends with Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, which leaves us traces of its buildings (Nuraghi) of over 2000 years ago and which unfortunately is mostly unknown to us. With masterful ability, our guide dr. Giovanna Tanda, archeologist, helped us retrace the fundamental stages of the Nuragic populations. A story unknown to me, despite the various visits to Sardinia. Deserves to be deepened. Thanks Giovanna for encouraging us to embark on our journey to discover the archaeological sites and the nuraghi in the rest of the island.
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