S’Urachi project

Nuraghi, the famous dry-stone walled towers of Sardinia, are usually considered as prehistoric monuments, because they were first built in the Bronze Age. They continued to be inhabited, however, and even if the monuments’ afterlife has often been acknowledged, it has rarely been investigated in its own right. The S’Urachi Project, by contrast, intends to study this major nuraghe as a monument of the historical period, and to explore its significance for the local inhabitants between the Phoenician period and Roman times.

Nuraghe S’Urachi offers the ideal setting for doing so, as its location on the northern shores of the Gulf of Oristano means that it is situated in close proximity to both colonial settlements and other indigenous nuraghi. The site itself was occupied from at least the Late Bronze Age to the early Imperial Roman period and as a major settlement site in the fertile plain of the Campidano Maggiore it played a key role in the colonial and cultural encounters of the first millennium BCE in Sardinia.

The aims of the project are

  • to examine in detail the colonial and cultural encounters between local inhabitants and newcomers over time through a careful analysis of everyday contexts of domestic life and rural production;
  • to analyze paleo-environmental and geostratigraphical evidence to obtain information on both absolute chronologies and agrarian activities during the first millennium BCE;
  • to contextualize S’Urachi as a first-millennium site in its territory as part of the wider Campidano Maggiore and Sinis

The first field season was held in July 2013 and fieldwork has since been a yearly event at S’Urachi between late June and the end of July. Most seasons are dedicated to excavation, with study campaigns of the numerous finds at regular intervals. Fieldwork and study are planned to continue until at least 2021.