Monte D'Accoddi: A Mesopotamian Ziggurat on Sardinia?

Monte D'Accoddi: A Mesopotamian Ziggurat on Sardinia?

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The site of Monte D'Accoddi on Sardinia is one of the most extraordinary mysteries of modern archaeology. It’s a real Babylonian style stepped pyramid that stands on a millenary plain as a reminder of ancient rituals and lost civilizations. Sardinia reveals itself to be a treasure chest forgotten by time that is worth exploration.

Monte D'Accoddi, Sardinia. (Author provided)

There is a really unique site not far from Porto Torres in north-western Sardinia - it is a pyramidal structure called the Prehistoric Altar (or Megalith) of Monte D'Accoddi, which has no equal in Europe. Due to its forms and measures it has always been likened to a Babylonian ziggurat (stepped pyramid), with a large front ramp for access to the highest level.

The Monte d'Accoddi Archaeological Complex

The entire archaeological area, extending over several square kilometers, has megalithic architecture more or less contemporary to the stepped pyramid. The Monte d'Accoddi complex is prehistoric, dating back at least to the fourth millennium BC - therefore, it’s pre-nuragic. The Sardinian ziggurat is accompanied by a series of cult and residential structures in the surroundings.

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The Prehistoric Altar. (Author provided)

Excavations, which started in the 1950’s, have shown that the great structure of Monte D'Accoddi was built as a truncated pyramid , about 27 meters (88.58 ft.) wide and 5 meters (16.40 ft.) tall, which in its original form was topped by an enormous altar to preside over sacrifices. Nowadays, traces remain of it in the plastered ochre painted walls.

In the course of its history the pyramid was abandoned and rebuilt several times. Around the third millennium BC the structure was covered by another building that was made of large processed limestone boulders, which gave it the shape we see today.

The ramp up the Sardinian ziggurat. (Author provided)

New Archaeo-Astronomical Studies and Surveys

Despite the initial skepticism of traditional scholars, a team of scientists led by the well-known Professor Giulio Magli, physicist, mathematician, and archaeo-astronomer at the Milan Polytechnic, investigated the measurements and orientation of the pyramid. They found similarities between it and Egyptian and Maya constructions. The results of these surveys have been published in the prestigious Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry Magazine (MAA), published by The University of the Aegean since 2001.

Looking from the top of the pyramid at the great menhir towards the south east, it is possible to trace the so-called "stop points" of the Moon, Sun, and Venus, i.e. the points at which they stop on the horizon. These three heavenly bodies are affected to a minor extent by the phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes (due to the oscillation of the earth's axis over the millennia) and can be observed more or less in the corresponding celestial areas in which they were stationing at the time of the construction and reconstruction of the site.

The hypothesis put forward by the amateur astronomer Eugenio Muroni is very interesting. According to Muroni, the altar of Monte D'Accoddi was oriented towards the constellation of the Southern Cross , which is no longer visible because of the precession.

5000 years ago, however, the Southern Cross was visible at these latitudes and the theory seems to receive support, although not definitive, from the fact that a stele north of the monument has a Mother Goddess in the shape of a cross, not the usual human form. It is also known that the temple was dedicated to two moon deities, the male god Narma and his feminine counterpart the goddess Ningal.

Statuette of Mother Goddess found on Sardinia. ( fotoember /Adobe Stock)

Walking on the pyramid gives an unusual emotive intoxication which is exacerbated by the feeling of standing on something unique, precious, and yet little-understood. This is also the way one may feel when considering the civilization who built the megaliths and left their traces throughout Europe, in the Mediterranean basin, the cromlech in Senegal and the Philippines , and then disappeared without leaving anything but gigantic structures as a testimony of their passage on Earth.

The Omphalos

There are other structures around the pyramid. The Omphalos, or navel of the world, the large round stone visible in the following images, was brought to its present location several years ago. It was found in the nearby field, where there are other megalithic elements that have not been sufficiently investigated. During transportation, the stone broke and today it is possible to observe the large fracture.

The Omphalos. (Author provided)

Nearby there is another round stone that is similar in form but smaller in size. Both may refer to the attempt to create a center for contact between the divine and the Earth; a center where the gods can interact with their followers, a navel of the land of men, whose umbilical cord was cut in ancient times, but from which it is possible to communicate with the celestial gods, according to ancient traditions.

The Sacrificial Altar or Dolmen

Another interesting structure to the east of the pyramid is the so-called sacrificial altar , a tiny dolmen formed by a slab of limestone about three meters (9.84 ft.) long that rests on supporting stones and reveals a series of holes. Most scholars believe that animals were tied above this stone (the holes were used for laces) and it was intended for sacrificial offerings.

The so-called sacrificial altar. (Author provided)

In fact, the holes seem to have been built for this purpose and there is also a sieve to let the blood flow into the lower chamber under the slab. There are seven holes, which could indicate an astronomical reference to the open star cluster of the Pleiades , which is found on many plates throughout Italy, especially in Valle d'Aosta. This number may also be a reference to the sacred numerology that is often seen in these ancient civilizations.

The Menhir

The presence of a menhir, or single erect stone which is also made of limestone and shaped and squared in the classic form of Sardinian menhirs, is really remarkable. Usually they are smaller, measuring 4.40 meters (14.44 ft.) tall, with a weight of more than five tons. Often these stones are related to phallic rituals, typical of Mesopotamia as the sacred poles of Baal.

The Menhir. (Author provided)

In the Middle Ages they were used by sterile women as vectors of magical force: the women rubbed their bellies on the surface with hopes that the spirit who lived in the stone could bless the family with a son. It is thought that the menhirs were one of the ways in which megalithic cultures imagined life after death; the deceased entered the stone and lived in it - with more or less the same meaning as cypresses associated with ancient cemeteries.

Thousands of Shells

All around the outside of the pyramid you can find small whitish shells that traditionally are associated with sacred offerings. They are everywhere. Over the centuries, the local populations, the sons and heirs of those who officiated ceremonies on the pyramid thousands of years ago, have gathered here, perpetuating rituals lost in time.

Unanswered Questions

The impression that the site arouses is remarkable: but what is a ziggurat pyramid doing in Sardinia?

The site of Monte D'Accoddi, Sardinia. (Author provided)

No archaeologist has found an adequate answer: some claim it is a common structure of the ‘ Homo religiosus’ across the Earth, and that the construction is an elevated temple meant to bring human beings closer to God.

Pyramidal structures have existed for thousands of years and can be found in several countries, but the uniqueness of Monte D'Accoddi lies in the fact that it is the only example of a ziggurat style stepped pyramid in Europe.

Little is known. Little has been studied. Such is the way with most of Sardinia’s ancient history.

Aerial view of Monte D'Accoddi, Sardinia. ( maurosanna /Adobe Stock)

Funds are Needed

Some time ago I was with my wife in this wonderful land and by chance we came across the discovery (or rediscovery) of the so-called Giants of Monte Prama . I was excited, as were the archaeologists and the inhabitants of the area and I wrote an article because no national media in Italy at the time seemed to realize the extraordinary nature of the discovery - the oldest statuary in Europe. It has partly rewritten history.

It was only after the article that was published on the site got tens of thousands of visits in a few hours that someone seemed to notice the discovery with some mention in the most important newspapers; but that led to very little.

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Sculpture, Giant of Monte Prama, warrior, Sardinia, Italy, Nuragic civilization, Bronze Age. ( DedaloNur / CC BY SA 3.0 )

In Italy, unfortunately, adequate funds are not allocated to local associations and universities, and in many cases they have to deal with the preservation of cultural heritage practically on their own. It always hurts me to see these things. For example, at the archaeological park of Pranu Mutteddu I saw the guide, an archaeologist, forced to work alone, freeing the big menhirs from the earth and raising them alone with just his arms.

I talked to him and he explained to me how things really are. He’s a person who, for pure passion for history and love of his land breaks his back and gets his hands dirty by putting megalithic structures back on their feet, and he deserves all the support and honor that is available. He completes a task that does not belong to him but he carries it out with dedication and commitment at a very high personal price.

It would be good to try to bring together enthusiasts and researchers from every nation, contact patrons and financers in Europe and beyond; to create an enthusiastic and competent community able to find means and people to collaborate with the local authorities in order to proceed with investigations and excavations that would lead to the enhancement of a territory unparalleled in the world .

Monte D’Accoddi: where in Italy you’ll feel like you’re in Mesopotamia

If you have toured Sardinia at all, you should have noticed there are many remains from its ancient past the prolific Nuraghic civilization left towers literally every mile or two. There are, however, even more mysterious places on the island, leaving scientists wondering how to connect facts that don’t seem to have anything in common.

Monte D’Accoddi Hill is one of these places – a seemingly random hodgepodge of ancient cultures that should have never met each other. The megalithic altar is made of huge stones arranged in neat layers. It’s the perfect place to imagine for a moment that you are an ancient high priest – straighten your back and walk solemnly up the 40 m (130 ft) ramp to the top of the hill, where you can confess your deepest desires to the gods. Although the altar is only 9 m (30 ft) high, the view from the top is spectacular and sweeps over the surrounding fields, which were perhaps once filled with worshipers.

Monte D’Accoddi in Sardinia, Italy | © Maria Angelova/

Although there is no direct relationship, it is identical to the contemporary Mesopotamian temples and embodies the ‘oriental’ creed of the union between heaven and earth - the sacred areas on top of reliefs were considered the meeting point between man and divinity. The temple of Monte d'Accoddi (from the archaic kodi, ‘stone’), dating back five thousand years, is a ziqqurat that is unique in Europe due to its singularity of architectural types. It was discovered in the mid-20 th century, digging into a small hill that appeared to be ‘artificial’, rising up in the middle of a plain. In fact, it was a pyramid altar covered with earth, perhaps dedicated to a female deity, carved in a granite stele alongside the monument. According to legend, it was built by a prince-priest who had fled from the Middle East. It had one very special feature: the ziqqurat is the temple of the Sun, in turn dedicated to the Moon.

The pre-Nuragic sanctuary stands in the centre of Nurra, along the ‘old’ State Highway 131 (heading towards Porto Torres), in the territory of Sassari, eleven kilometres from the capital of the north of the island. The monument played a central role in society of the time, being the culmination of the evolution of a complex developed from the second half of the 4 th millennium BC. The altar is the superimposition of two phases, that of the ‘red temple’, in the final Neolithic period (3500-2900 BC), and the following ‘terraced temple’, in the Aeneolithic period (about 2700 BC), as part of the Abealzu-Filigosa culture. In the first phase, several villages of quadrangular huts were part of a ceremonial hub, including a Domus de Janas necropolis and alongside the Santuario, in their original positions, are an elongated menhir (four and a half metres high), an enormous slab with seven holes (perhaps use to tie up victims) and boulders of spheroidal stone, one of five metres in circumference. All the stones served a specific purpose in the sacrificial rituals. At the end of the final Neolithic period, the people of the Ozieri culture built a platform in the shape of a pyramidal trunk, with sides at the base extending 27 metres, above which stood a rectangular room with surfaces plastered and painted in ochre and traces of yellow and black. Of the sacred area remain the floor and remnants of a perimeter wall. Around 2800 BC, the structure of the ‘red temple’, abandoned for about two centuries, was buried under a colossal filling of earth, stones and limestone marlstone, in turn ‘covered’ with large blocks of stone. A new large terraced pyramidal platform was built, with sides longer than the previous one and accessible from a ramp that was forty metres long and thirteen to seven metres wide. The second sanctuary is reminiscent of the ziqqurat with an ‘open-air’ altar. The structure occupies 1,600 square metres, rising up almost six metres (originally perhaps eight). Inside is an unexplored room. Perhaps, as in Mesopotamia, it contains the sacred bed where the ritual of regeneration of life and fertility of the earth was carried out. Around are the remains of a village, where ceramics were found almost intact. To be admired are finds safeguarded in the Sanna archaeological museum, along with a model of the altar in its earliest form. The building retained its religious function for a millennium. At its base, remains of sacred meals and objects used in propitiatory rituals were discovered. The site was abandoned at the beginning of the ancient Bronze Age (1800 BC) and occasionally reused for burials.


The discovery on the west Mediterranean
island of Sardinia during the 1950s of a ziggurat-like
monument dating to the early 4th millennium B.C.E.
kindled the still unresolved debate over its cultural
heredity. Toward resolving this issue, the so-called
Red Temple at Monte d’Accoddi is compared here to
Near Eastern ziggurats in terms of geotechnical and
architectural detail, and related cult observances. On
these criteria, and a consideration of genomic parameters
it is concluded that serious consideration needs
to be given to the notion that the edifice in question
is a manifestation of a migration event of as yet unknown
nature and duration initiated from Mesopotamia
sometime in the first-half of the 4th millennium.
Keywords : Sardinia, Neolithic, Mesopotamia, Uruk
Period, Temple Architecture.

Figure 9 should read:
Fig. 9. Temple plans. a. Small shrine in S44 at Khafajah (after Delougaz and Lloyd 1942, pl. 16) b. Tepe Gawra stratum viiib, chamber R. 833 (after Speiser 1935.27) c. Temple O 43 at Khafajah (after Delougaz and Lloyd 1942, pl. 17) d. Tepe Gawra stratum x, shrine/ room 1003 (after Tobler 1950, pl. liii) e. Tepe Gawra stratum viii a-c, Northern Shrine/cult chamber R. 808 (after Speiser 1935 pl. ix ) f. Red Temple at Monte d’Accoddi (after Traverso 2007-2009, fig. 2).

Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.

Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.

Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.

The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.

During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.

The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.

From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.

The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.

Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.

Sardinia: the Ziggurat and the Omphalos

With the discovery of copper, life for the Mediterranean Neolithic farming communities changed profoundly. The sacred art of metallurgy was seen as the ultimate gift of the Goddess and the blacksmith as the alchemist who could transform the precious stuff that came from deep within the Earth into something useful. In Sardinia, this cross over time from Neolithic farming to metallurgy brought with it a remarkable and unique development not seen anywhere else in the Mediterranean. The enigmatic sanctuary at Monte d’Accordi.

Menhir at Li Lolghi, Sardinia

Near modern day Porto Torres, close to a spring and surrounded by distant mountain peaks on the south side, an ancient terraced site resembling a ziggurat rises out of the Nurra plain. This area had long since been regarded as sacred, most likely due to its setting and vantage point, and menhirs and stellae decorated with symbols were previously laid out here. The use of menhirs, or baetyl, proliferated during the Ozieri period, reflecting a wider tradition that had started in the Levant (or possibly Egypt) thousands of year earlier and migrated all the way across to the British Isles.

Baetyls were considered to be the house of god/goddess. They at once embodied the sacred and marked a sacred site, so they were the earliest form of altars. Their erection and libation could have been part of an ancient ritual whereby new territory was made sacred, and that which was previously foreign and ‘outside of’ became part of the acceptable realm of operation.

Ziggurat at Monte d’Accoddi

Then in around 3000 BCE, at around the same time that ziggurats began to occur in Mesopotamia, a terraced altar was built with walls made from stones and filled in with earth. On top, which could only be accessed via a ramp, a rectangular temple made from limestone slabs was erected, and the floors of the temple were painted red with ochre so as to resemble menstrual blood. For this reason the structure has been named the Red Temple.

Later, a second layer was added and again truncated like a ziggurat, enlarging the structure and bringing the Red Temple closer to the sky and presumably making it even more sacred. On one side of the ramp is an altar made from a large sheet of granite with circular holes cut into the sides, and on the other a large free standing menhir that could predate the site. To the north of the ziggurat are a farther three small chapels used for votive offerings and another menhir with strange carvings possibly depicting the goddess.

Goddess stellae at Monte d’Accoddi

It has been suggested that the four corners of the ziggurat are aligned to the four carnival points. That and the fact that the views of the horizon are conveniently punctuated by distant mountains suggests that at least one of the functions of this extraordinary place was an astronomical observatory. A small incised stone found at the site is suggestive of tally marks and could record planetary or stellar movements.

The ziggurat is part of a larger cult centre surrounded by partially unexcavated smaller huts. One could have belonged to the shaman or high priestess of the sanctuary as a vase full of shells was found here. It is speculated that these were used as amulets with magical significance.

Most intriguing of all is a large carved stone omphalos, a navel stone depicting a special type of sacred place considered to be at the very bond between heaven and earth. The stone is egg shaped and has been cut through deliberately with a curved line so that it resembles a crack. This strongly suggests that this omphalos could also be a primordial egg, a place of origin from which all things emerge, the equivalent to the Place of the First Time in Egyptian mythology.

‘Bond between Heaven and Earth’

All these elements suggest that Monte d’Accoddi was a place of supreme importance to the earliest Chalcolithic cultures of northern Sardinia, indeed that t his cult site could have once been considered to be the dwelling place of the Goddess herself. Statuettes with perforated arms and breasts have been found at the site, attributing to prevalence of a female deity. The power of the place stayed with me for days afterwards, and my dreams connected me with an ancient time now long since forgotten. I can only speculate as to the immense power of the site when used and activated in the way for which it was intended.

Experience enchanting Sardinia on this 7-day private escorted trip to Italy

Delve into the mysteries and history of enchanting Sardinia on this 7-day/6-night private escorted Sardinia Italy vacation package where the dreamiest of white sand beaches and scalloped bays meet with Bronze Aged settlements and mind-bending structures. Stroll along Piscinas&rsquo Dunes, one of the most magnificent beaches of the &ldquoCosta Verde&rdquo known for some of the highest sand dunes in Europe. Explore Tharros Town, a Phoenician port dating back to the 8th century B.C. where many Egyptian scarabs were found. Let history come to life on your private escorted Italy travel package as you discover Domus de Janas, one of the largest and most important necropolises, and the Bronze Aged Nuraghe of Santu Antne tower and fortified court that dates back to 1500 BC. Visit the .

Delve into the mysteries and history of enchanting Sardinia on this 7-day/6-night private escorted Sardinia Italy vacation package where the dreamiest of white sand beaches and scalloped bays meet with Bronze Aged settlements and mind-bending structures. Stroll along Piscinas&rsquo Dunes, one of the most magnificent beaches of the &ldquoCosta Verde&rdquo known for some of the highest sand dunes in Europe. Explore Tharros Town, a Phoenician port dating back to the 8th century B.C. where many Egyptian scarabs were found. Let history come to life on your private escorted Italy travel package as you discover Domus de Janas, one of the largest and most important necropolises, and the Bronze Aged Nuraghe of Santu Antne tower and fortified court that dates back to 1500 BC. Visit the Neolithic archeological site Ziggurat of Monte d'Accoddi, featuring a megalithic altar shaped as a Mesopotamic Ziggurat. Enjoy a Malvasia wine tasting, the local grape in Tresnuraghes, a commune in the Province of Oristano. Venture along to the archaeological site of Nora, an extraordinary example of a city of Punic and Roman times overlooking a glorious beach. Adventure, natural beauty, and amazing history await you on this superb, private escorted trip to Italy.

Program Highlights

  • Delve into the mysteries and history of enchanting Sardinia on this 7-day/6-night Italian adventure where the dreamiest of white sand beaches and scalloped bays meet with Bronze Aged settlements and mind-bending structures
  • Stroll along Piscinas&rsquo Dunes, one of the most magnificent beaches of the &ldquoCosta Verde&rdquo known for some of the highest sand dunes in Europe
  • Explore Tharros Town, a Phoenician port dating back to the 8th century B.C. where many Egyptian scarabs were found
  • Let history come to life as you discover Domus de Janas, one of the largest and most important necropolises, and the Bronze Aged Nuraghe of Santu Antne tower and fortified court that dates back to 1500 BC
  • Visit the Neolithic archeological site Ziggurat of Monte d&rsquoAccoddi, featuring a megalithic altar shaped as a Mesopotamic Ziggurat
  • Enjoy a Malvasia wine tasting, the local grape in Tresnuraghes, a commune in the Province of Oristano
  • Venture along to the archaeological site of Nora, an extraordinary example of a city of Phoenician and Roman times overlooking a glorious beach


  • First class hotel accommodation for 6 nights
  • 13 included meals, consisting of:
    - 6 breakfasts
    - 1 lunch at a local farmhouse
    - 6 dinners at hotel
  • Touring by private air-conditioned car/minivan
  • Assistance of an English-speaking professional tour director for the entire length of the tour
  • Complete program of sightseeing tours and excursions with entrance fees:
    - Excursion to the coal mines land and Costa Verde
    - Tour of Tharros
    - Visit of Sant&rsquoAndrea Priu Necropolis
    - Visit of Nuraghe Santu Antine
    - Visit of Basilica Santissima Trinita&rsquo di Saccargia and Ziggurat Pyramid
    - City tour of Alghero
    - Tour of Bosa
    - Visit of the Phoenicians town of Nora
    - City tour of Cagliari
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Baggage handling
  • Document holder and luggage tags
  • Hotel taxes and service charges

Small Groups


Supplement for July and August arrivals: On Request Single supplement: On Request Reduction for third person sharing twin-bedded room: On Request Price is per person based on double occupancy. Rates for additional nights at first and last city are available

Sardinia – History

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, and it occupies a strategic position.
Located in the middle of the trade routes towards the western Mediterranean, the region has always been a tactical-military point of reference, and also a pillar for the geopolitical balance of the area.
But its strategic position didn&rsquot always bring wealth to the region. In the course of its history, the island has been a target of pirate raids and subject to numerous attempts of conquest. These events have shaped the character of the region and accentuated its autonomy. Despite its insularity, Sardinia has turned its back on the sea and focused on the development of a predominantly rural society.
Although an important node for the maritime trade, Sardinia is hard to define as a maritime region.
Commerce in the region has always been managed more by foreigners than by natives, while the locals have always been more concerned in preserving their traditions, lifestyle, and culture. This is based on the uniqueness that defines and distinguishes Sardinia from the rest of Italy.
The Italian name, Sardegna, derives from the Latin Sardinia, a term used since the classical antiquity and by which the island is still known today in many regions of the world. Sardinia derives from the Sardinians, a group of peoples who inhabited the area.

But the name is not the only thing Sardinia preserved from the past. The complex local language, the Sardinian, is a Romance language that captivates the linguists as it&rsquos the closest dialect to Latin. And, scattered throughout the territory, the region also preserved testimonies of its troubled history.

Prehistory of Sardinia

For a long time, it was believed that Sardinia wasn&rsquot inhabited before the Neolithic age, due to its geographic isolation from the peninsula during the Pleistocene. However, following archaeological research in the late 70s, there have been numerous complexes discovered that have been attributed to the Lower Paleolithic era. Interesting sites include the Sa Coa de Sa Multa near Laerru, which is typologically linked to a peninsular evolution.

Other noteworthy artifacts were discovered in the area of Anglona, on the northern side of the island.
Along the Riu Altana river and in Laerru-Pantallinu basins were excavated and unearthed some remains from the Middle Paleolithic eras, including evidence of the Sa Pedrosa-Pantallinu industries.

The Upper Paleolithic era is poorly documented and only a few generic artifacts belonging to the Epigravettian have been reported in Corbeddu cave, near Nuoro.
The obsidian deposits played an important role in documenting the Neolithic period. The most important findings were excavated in Mount Arci, an area known for its vast trade relations with the surrounding regions.
Moreover, research conducted at the end of the twentieth century allowed the reconstruction of the development of the Neolithic facies of the island. The Ozieri era, in the second half of the fourth millennia BC, is characterized by a rich culture evidenced by the hypogeal sepulchers.
The culture of Ozieri marked the beginning of the evolution of the island. In fact, from that moment on,

Sardinia was included in the trade circuits and in the exchange routes that involved both the western and the eastern Mediterranean. The strong influence of the bell-shaped facies attributed to the Eneolithic and the numerous Mycenaean bronze fragments found on the island are standing testimonies of these events.

Moreover, numerous fragments of Sardinian vases were also found in Crete. Dated to the same period, they further attest the intense commercial relations of the region with the surrounding territories.

History of Sardinia

The second millennia BC marks the beginning of history in Sardinia with the appearance of the nuraghe,characteristic stone dwellings scattered throughout the territory, defining the island&rsquos rural landscape.
These dwellings were often surrounded by large villages, wells, sacred monuments, and other elements typical of a complex society.

Within the context of the relations that Sardinia had with the Aegean world, a particular place was occupied by the Mycenae and Cyprus. The impressive development of the island in the early Iron Age is a consequence of the intense trade practiced with the Etruscans.
Between the seventh and sixth century BC, the Phoenicians took the place of the Etruscans in the economy of the island and implemented a plan of commercial and territorial expansion. In this period the settlements of Caralis were founded, which developed into the future Cagliari, Nora, Sulcis, and Tharros.

The Phocian civilizations tried to occupy the region and founded Olbia, but their penetration in Sardinia was stopped by the Etruscans and Carthaginians. The latter occupied the whole coastal area and a great part of the inland, establishing their dominion.

Although interested in the territory&rsquos potential, Rome renounced to trade in the island as a result of a treaty with Carthage stipulated in 348 BC. Yet, in the third century BC, the struggle for hegemony over the Mediterranean caused a clash between the two major powers of the era, the Romans and the Carthaginians. Sardinia was involved and the treaty ceased.

In 238 BC, a revolt of mercenaries against Carthage offered Rome the pretext to send some legions to the island. Winning against the strenuous Sardinian and Carthaginian resistance, the Romans established themselves in the region in 226 BC, associating Sardinia with Corsica in a sole territorial administration.
Rome entrusted the government of the two islands to a magistrate who could freely exert full civil and military powers.

The central power of Rome continued to treat the island as a land of conquest for a long time, without granting liberty to the municipalities throughout the whole Republican Age. This caused numerous revolts, among which the most noteworthy was the one organized by the Carthaginian Amsicora in 215 BC.

Although the end of the second century BC marked the end of the riots, the resistance against the Roman Empire continued to manifest itself in the territory, and Sardinia witnessed the uprising of the phenomenon of banditry.
In an attempt to put an end to the struggles, Caesar granted Roman civil rights to Cagliari while Porto Torres, Tharros, and Sulcis became Roman colonies.

During the Imperial Age, Sardinia was separated from Corsica and governed by the Senate as a Roman province. This slowly Romanized the island, although the locals maintained their culture, traditions, and habits.
At the end of the third century AD, Diocletian implemented a reform which included the province in the jurisdiction of Rome. Sardinia remained under Roman jurisdiction until the dissolution of the Empire, and in 455 the island became a maritime base of the Vandals.
Between 533 and 534 the island was conquered by the Byzantines, following the victory of Belisarius. The suffocating Byzantine rule aggravated the decadence of the island while favoring the Christianization of the inhabitants. The Christianization was completed in 594 by Gregory the Great.

Under Gregory&rsquos monasticism, Sardinia remained protected from new raids until the beginning of the eighth century when the Muslim threat touched its shores, causing the separation from Byzantium.
Nevertheless, the Saracen attacks didn&rsquot materialize into a stable dominion perhaps because of the conquest of Sicily.

With the disintegration of the Byzantine dominion, at the end of the seventh century, the power was attributed to four &ldquogiudicati&rdquo namely the municipalities of Cagliari, Arborea, Torres, and Gallura. The ninth century brought a profound institutional transformation in the region, based on principality and characterized by a heavy dynastic policy centered on matrimonial alliances.
This policy allowed Barisone, giudicato of Arborea, to extend his control over the whole island. However, his attempt to unify the four regions failed and the following period brought serious anarchy. This caused clashes between the various powers controlling Sardinia, above all between the Genoese, who ruled Torres, and Pisa, who controlled Cagliari and Gallura.
The Giudicato of Arborea benefitted from the struggles and regained its prestige and political weight. Now governed by Mariano de Serra Bas, Arborea became a powerful ally of Pisa in 1265.

In 1297, Pope Boniface VIII gave the island to James II of Aragon. Yet, the Aragon dynasty only took possession of the island in 1323 when Alfonso imposed his feudal orders. The despotism of the newcomers and the attachment to the autonomy of the locals aroused profound resentment in the population.
The first municipality to rise against the Aragon was Sassari, followed by other centers and supported by Genoa, Pisa, and Lunigiana, but they only succeeded to regain control over the western strip of the island.

In 1395 a set of laws know as Carta de Logu were promoted by the Aragon and subsequently extended to the whole territory. Yet, the dominion of the Aragon didn&rsquot become more tolerable and this caused severe riots.
After the failure of the last revolt that ended with the defeat of the Sardinians in 1478, the island passedunder the Spanish rule and entered in a long period of decline.

In fact, Ferdinand the Catholic stifled the autonomy of the local authorities, granted supremacy to the Spanish nobility and hindered the contacts with the peninsula. The Spanish administration implemented a process of transition to the Spanish language and traditions.
The oppressive Spanish presence separated Sardinia from Italy, making the island unaware of the cultural and political processes of the Renaissance and Humanism.
Following the Spanish succession war, Sardinia returned within the confines of Italy from a historical point of view. The treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt from 1713 and 1714 assigned the territory to Austria, who in 1718 ceded it to the Savoy under the Treaty of London.
Assuming the title of king of Sardinia, Vittorio Amadeo II of Savoy committed to recognize and respect all the privileges, statutes and laws in force on the island. However, even if in a subtle way, he succeeded to suppress or change some elements of the Spanish legal system.

This marked the beginning of reforms intended to revive the economy and reorganize the administrative and legal powers. The persistence of the feudal structures reawakened the feelings of autonomy in 1789, after the French revolution, and led to the outbreak of anti-feudal movements.
The riots maintained an economic and social character, rather than a political one, and were directed against the feudal lords instead of the sovereignty of the Savoy.

In Sardinia, the Restoration coincided with a revival of the reforming initiatives, reinvigorated by the actions of Carlo Alberto. During his reign, the feudal regime was suppressed, and the island was united with Piedmont in 1847. However, the reform didn&rsquot change much for the poor economic and social situation of the island.

In 1820, due to continuous conflicts between shepherds and farmers fueled majorly by the structure of the territory, the administration gave anyone who was in possession of a land the right of fencing it. This process fueled arrogance and crime in its typical form of banditry linked to the pastoral world, and also inoculated a profound skepticism against the State.
The twentieth century opened with popular revolts, but the greatest upheaval occurred after the First World War when the veterans gathered in fighting the movement of the Sardinian Action Party. This determined Italy to grant autonomy to the territory.

The fascist regime implemented itself in the region with important interventions that shaped the aspect of the landscape, such as the construction of artificial basins for irrigation and electric plants. Touched marginally by the Second World War, the region focused its efforts on the reconstruction of the nation, and in 1949 Sardinia won its special status of an autonomous region, establishing its capital in Cagliari.

Archeology of Sardinia

Archaeology is well represented in Sardinia, and the site of Monte d&rsquoAccoddi in Sassari preserves some of the most remarkable artifacts from the Mesopotamian era.
Among the most interesting remains of the ancient Sardinian cultures are the so-called &ldquodomus de janas&rdquo, which are hypogeal sepulchers from the Neolithic age excavated in rock walls and formed by one or more chambers. The most grandiose complex is Sant&#39Andrea Priu, near Bonorva.

The most typical aspect of the nuraghe civilization dates back to the Middle Bronze Age and includes a number of dwellings, primitive villages and ceramic artifacts, megalithic tombs, and temples. Some of the most noteworthy complexes are Santa Cristina in Paulilatino, Sa Testa in Olbia, and Santa Vittoria near Serri. Moreover, numerous nuraghe are scattered throughout the region.
The region is also rich in bronze pieces, depicting warriors, animals, deities, and objects of worship. These primitive forms of art depict the Sardinian civilization and are extremely important from an archaeological point of view.
In their characteristic style and far from the canons of the classical antiquity, there are also many artifacts depicting geometrical shapes and naturalistic motifs.

Evidence of early civilizations is also present in the numerous sanctuaries, fortifications, and necropolises where statuettes, amulets, and other worship objects have been discovered.
Sardinia also retained particular characteristics from the Roman period. Two of the most important archaeological sites are Nora and Tharros. Roman monuments are present in both locations but also in other areas of the island, and include thermal baths and spa complexes, temples, amphitheaters, and necropolises.

Among the museums, perhaps the most noteworthy is the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari, but other fascinating museums include the National Archaeological and Ethnological Museum in Sassari, Antiquarium Turritano in Porto Torres, and the Civic Archaeological Museum in Ozieri.

The Prehistoric Altar of Monte D’Accoddi (3500 BC) forces historian to rewrite the history of the Mediterranean

Studies of the monument have described Monte d’Accoddi as a prehistoric altar, a viewing platform, a step pyramid, or even an ancient architectural ziggurat.

The site consists of two primary phases, with the earliest period of construction dating from around 4,000–3,650 BC and is generally associated with the Ozieri culture (also known as the “culture of St. Michael”) which was a prehistoric pre-Nuragic Hunter-gatherer culture later mixed with husbandry and agriculture.

This phase culminated in a raised platform to a height of around 5.5 metres which was accessible by a ramp. The monument was abandoned and possibly destroyed around 3000 BC, with a hiatus of around 200 years before the second phase of construction associated with the Abealzu-Filigosa culture (culture born in Macomer Village, Copper Age culture of Sardinia focused on pastoralism and agriculture).

This involved the earlier structure being enlarged with a covering of earth and stone, and a second tiered platform that gave the shape of a truncated step pyramid up to 10 metres in height. The summit was accessible by a larger ramp, measuring 42 metres in length constructed over the previous ramp.

A few metres from the ramp is a trapezoidal slab made of limestone that was either an offering table or a dolmen, with archaeological evidence from the Abealzu-Filigosa layers suggesting the function of sacrificial rituals for sheep, cattle, and swine. Several other altars have been identified within the boundaries of the site, in addition to carved spherical shaped boulders that functioned as sacred stones.

There is some evidence that Monte d’Accoddi continued to be occupied during the Beaker culture period (although evidence is sparse), with the monument being abandoned before the Nuragic Age of Sardinia from 1800 BC.

Excavations at Monte d’Accoddi was spread over two research projects, the first being directed by Ercole Contu in the 1950’s which studied the external architectural characteristics of the monument and a surrounding settlement. The second, directed by Santo Tiné revealed the existence of the earlier monument that led to the proposal to reconstruct Monte d’Accoddi during the 1980’s.

We are faced with an imposing cult building around which a vast village extended: a sanctuary to which the faithful had to flock, given its importance, from a very vast territory and from afar, perhaps from all of Sardinia as suggested by someone. . It has already been said about the architectural uniqueness of this monument which has not yet been found in both Europe and the entire Mediterranean basin, and for this reason the only possible comparisons lead to the Near East. It should be noted that these are completely generic comparisons which are not indicative of direct contacts of which, at least so far, there is no evidence. The step pyramids – such as the well-known one of Sakkara – would lead to Egypt, even if the Sardinian building seems to recall the mastabas, which are also truncated pyramids. But the mastabas are tombs and do not have any external inclined ramp to reach the upper esplanade, and the ascent must have had a strong symbolic meaning as an ascent towards divinity. More suggestive, however, is the reference with the most elementary type of sacred towers, equipped with ramps and steps of Mesopotamia: the ziqqurat. The most famous, besides that of Ur, is better known from the Bible as the tower of Babel, that is, the tower of Babylon. They are rather complex ziqqurat, as well as the analogous ones of Assur and Korsabad, belonging to the third millennium, while that of Aqar Quf is even of the second. But the comparison that seems most significant, at least for its greater simplicity, is that with the ziqqurat of Anu, in Uruk, built not too far from the altar of Monte d’Accoddi. The ziggurat of Monte d’Accoddi also remembers – but only as a pure literary reference – the altar that Javeh requires to build to Moses: it had to be of rough stones or earth and accessible by means of a ramp without steps, and this so that, for the short tunic, no scandal is generated. And we are around 2200 BC. Perhaps, as was the case in the Mesopotamian ziggurats, the truncated pyramid of Monte d’Accoddi was also intended for sacred festivals related to the agricultural cycle, the fertility of the fields, the propitiatory rites of fertility for men and animals and more. From the first interventions it was clear that Monte d’Accoddi was a monument prior to the age of the nuraghi, not only for its unusual architecture but for the materials that were being found, referable to the times of the cultures of Ozieri, of Filigosa, of Abealzu, Monte Claro and Campaniforme, between the Recent Neolithic and the Copper Age. To reiterate the high antiquity of the archaeological complex, there are numerous radiometric datings, among which five datings not calibrated by the Utrech Laboratory are of particular interest. In conclusion, on the basis of the data available so far, the construction phases of the “ziggurat” and the different times of attendance of Monte d’Accoddi can be determined to some extent. The area where the “ziggurat” and the village-sanctuary now stands was occupied for the first time at the time of the culture of San Ciriaco (3500-3200 BC) at the beginning of the Recent Neolithic, as documented by ceramics and the remains of circular basement huts . A new housing nucleus referable to the culture of Ozieri (3200-2900 BC) was superimposed on this first plant, equipped with a cult area marked by a menhir and a slab with through holes. Subsequently, in the final phase of the Ozieri culture itself – but for others in the subsequent Aeneolithic culture of Filigosa – the menhir area was partially occupied by the construction of the first terrace altar, equipped with a ramp and paved with a plastered and red painted chapel. The excavation data revealed that the first pyramid with the chapel was destroyed by a fire, after which it was covered with earth and stones well settled with a system of radial caissons, and then a new chapel was erected, raised by several meters, while the pyramid and the ramp were also rebuilt and enlarged. The second pyramid – built at the time of Filigosa but for others during the culture of Abealzu (2700 BC) – remained in use in the Eneolithic, as evidenced by the materials of the cultures of Filigosa, Abealzu, Monte Claro and Campaniforme found in the huts that arise in the foot of the pyramid, but already at the time of the Bonnanaro culture, in the Bronze Age (1800-1600 BC), the sanctuary must have been abandoned even if there are traces of more recent frequentations such as the very rare Nuragic, Phoenician-Punic, age Roman and medieval. To testify that already during the Ancient Bronze Age the sanctuary had lost its function as a place of worship, the burial of a six-year-old boy, found inside the filling of the south-east corner of the “ziggurat”, should be noted. It is a secondary type of burial, consisting only of the skull – brachycephalic and affected by congenital flattening of the cranial vault (platicephaly) – covered, almost like a helmet, from an earthenware tripod vase with a bowl beside it.
The accompanying ceramics attest that it is a tomb of the Bonnanaro culture (1800-1600 BC), when the great altar was already abandoned and in ruins, a place of sporadic and occasional visits.

Monte Accoddi – A Sardinian step pyramid by Philip Coppens

A ziggurat on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia? As strange as it may sound, this is precisely the conclusion – or suggestion – that archaeologists have reached. For the structure of Monte d’Accoddi is not only something that is set apart from anything else found in Sardinia, it is unique in the entire Mediterranean region.
As such, Monte d’Accoddi is an oop-construction, on par with the oop-arts – out of place artefacts – that have generated great interest, and controversy. Situated between the coastal town of Porte Torres and the city of Sassari, the site of Monte d’Accoddi in the northwest part of the largest island of the Mediterranean, is sometimes not even indexed on maps. As such, it doesn’t attract many visitors, despite a very impressive car park, suggesting that when the site was finally fully excavated and opened for tourists, two decades ago, the mass influx of tourists that was expected, never came.

Monte d’Accoddi is a pyramid. It is the only pyramid known on Sardinia. It is a large platform pyramid. With a causeway, which is why it is more commonly referred to as a ziggurat. But it also has a menhir (a standing stone). And a dolmen. And a stone sphere. Which makes it even more unique, not just on the island, but the entire Mediterranean Sea, in fact – as too few people have pointed out – in the entire world. For there is no other site in the world that has all of these items all in one place. And that’s what makes Monte d’Accoddi an oop-construction, as it has a bit of everything, but brought together in a manner that no-one else has done as such.

Monte d’Accoddi for some means Monte de Code, “stone mountain”, and for others “mountain with tail”. Whichever one is the correct translation, both are correct in their labelling, as that’s precisely what the construction is: a stone platform pyramid with a ramp.
The main structure itself resembles, in appearance, the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. A ziggurat is defined as a “temple tower, either stepped in tiers or spiral, symbolizing the mountain peak where the gods dwelt and where the skies met with the earth.” Ziggurats are thought to represent a cosmic axis, a bridge between heaven and earth and unlike the pyramids of Ancient Egypt, they had a temple on top – like most Mexican pyramids. It is therefore interesting that Monte d’Accoddi shares more with the ziggurats of Mesopotamia than with Egypt, which is closer and easier to reach (by sea) from Sardinia.
The mound measures almost 36 by 29 meters, is nine metres high, tapers inwards, with a long – 42 metres – ramp ascending one side to a flat top. It is orientated north-south, thus conforming to the general rule that pyramids are aligned to the cardinal points. Along the ramp, today, a stone sphere is posed on the right hand side where the ascent begins along the way, to the left, rises an impressive, 4.7 metres tall standing stone (5.75 tonnes heavy), while to the right, is the “altar” stone of a dolmen, measuring 3.15 by 3.20 metres, weighing 8.2 tonnes. Both standing stone and dolmen are typical of the megalithic remains one can find in so many other locations all over Europe – and beyond – as well as elsewhere on Sardinia. The only differentiator is that these stones are somewhat bigger than your average standing stone or dolmen – the standing stone is in fact the second biggest in Sardinia, after the one of Villa Sant’Antonio (Arborea).
The dolmen differs from many other dolmen because its top surface has a number of cupola – circular indentations – which along the sides are clearly manmade, and enhanced to become little “run-off tunnels”, which run from the top to the side of the stone.
Why a standing stone and a dolmen would stand on either side of the ramp is impossible to explain, as it is unique to this site. The closest parallel to a standing stone one might find elsewhere in this position, is with the obelisks that often stood at both sides of an entrance into an Egyptian temple.
The causeway itself leads to one of the platform levels of the pyramid to reach the upper level of the pyramid, a series of steps needs to be climbed, which are offset from the centre, and which give access to the flat surface. At one point, this housed a wooden construction, a veritable temple. Archaeologists speculate that right below, at ground level, is a “cave”, on top of which the entire construction was built. Though the cave is likely to have been man-made, construction-wise, it echoes the reasoning behind the Great Pyramid, which was constructed on top of a natural cave. However, the cave’s existence remains somewhat speculative.

Sardinia’s culture goes back thousands of years, and was rich, as its megalithic remains, from Giant’s tombs to nuraghis (megalithic stone towers), demonstrate. The area around Monte d’Accoddi has a number of necropoleis, some in the near vicinity of the site. This might suggest that this pyramid might be linked with a cult of dead. But if so, the question is why only one pyramid was ever constructed on the entire island. And why it looks so much like a ziggurat, rather than have a more unique nature, or resemble more e.g. the platform pyramids of Tenerife and the not too distant Sicily. It invites speculation, and a conclusion that someone from elsewhere came here, and he or they alone wanted to be buried in such fashion – their tradition – is a tempting answer.
The problem with this theory is: who? The present construction is dated by some to 2450-1850 BC. However, carbon-dating of three items connected with the second phase of this structure have given a date of 2590 BC. In Sardinia, Mankind was in the Copper Age at that moment in time. But that is just the dating for the structure we see today. It is known that the present construction was built on top of an older, identical but smaller complex.
In fact, there is evidence that this was a sacred spot as early as 5000 BC. Why that would be so, is hard to tell, but perhaps it has to do with the nearby necropoleis. The ziggurat sits in the middle of a plain, whereby some mountains along the horizon can be discerned, but it is not immediately obvious that these would play an intricate spectacle that would involve the sun or the moon, as one is wont to find when it comes to pyramids and like. Still, Anthony Aveni, with the help of E. Proverbio and G. Romano, has found that Monte d’Accoddi was linked with the observations of the moon. It might explain why the structure was erected here and why the site was deemed to be sacred for centuries before the pyramid construction began.
It is known that a village existed here as early as 4200 BC. The menhir itself has been dated to 3500 BC and is ascribed as being part and parcel of the “Ozieri culture”. This was the time when the dead were buried inside the island’s carved-out hypogea, some of which (as mentioned) can be found in the immediate vicinity of the pyramid.
Most interestingly, carbon-dating has revealed that the first phase of the pyramid was built in 3020-2970 BC. Around 3000 BC, it would still be four centuries before the ancient Egyptians would construct their first pyramid, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, in 2630 BC. Even so, that pyramid has no visual resemblance with Monte d’Accoddi. However, ca. 3000 BC, step pyramids that resemble Monte d’Accoddi were being built in Mesopotamia. Coincidence, or evidence that someone from the Middle East at one point came to Sardinia?

Though perhaps therefore of foreign influence, the pyramid is dated to the Ozieri culture, named after a local culture in the northwest of Sardinia. Near the platform on the top of the structure, archaeologists have discovered typical Ozieri stiff nude alabaster sculptures, greenstone axes, loom weights, and vases, decorated with circles, spirals, horns, zigzags and triangles. Amongst the finds was also a dish depicting dancing women. These have an hourglass shape and three-toed feet that look like bird claws. The famed archaeologist Marija Gimbutas queried whether some form of ritual dance was perhaps performed on the platform.
As mentioned, the current pyramid measures 36 by 29 metres, with a height of 9 metres and a ramp that is 41.8 metres long. The flat top structure is almost square, 23.80 by 23.40 metres. This platform once housed a structure that is commonly referred to as the “red temple”, as it was painted in red ochre, with its walls and floors plastered. Apart from red ochre, traces of yellow and black colouring have also been found. Its size is described as 5.5 by 25 metres.
The original pyramid measured 23.8 by 27.4 metres, and reached a height of 5.4 metres. The upper platform would have measured 12.5 by 7.25 metres, with a ramp that was 5.5 metres wide and 25 metres long.
After 500 years of use, the structure was therefore enlarged, suggesting its popularity demanded something “more”, but that the alterations did not seriously alter its primary purpose – whatever that precisely was. It is known that the site was inhabited and looked after until after 2000 BC, revealing that a further 500 years of use came out of the improved ziggurat. Still, in use for more than one millennium, it never seems to have been copied elsewhere on the island, suggesting it served a rather unique task. This might mean that no-one else elsewhere on the island was interested in what occurred here, or that the tasks performed here, did not need replication elsewhere. As such, a link with burial practices – which archaeologists have pushed forward for this, like almost all other pyramids – is extremely unlikely.
And why its usage was abandoned, is equally unclear. The next phase of this structure is during the Second World War, when trenches were dug as part of the installation of anti-aircraft batteries, which damaged the construction. In fact, archaeologists, were only let loose on the structure in 1954, initially led by Ercolu Contu (until 1958), with a second series of excavations carried out by Santa Tiné, from 1979 till 1990.

One side of the pyramid reveals how it was built: walls built with great stone blocks lined sections, which were then filled with earth, with another level created by adding another “wall” of stone blocks, each interior one built with slightly larger blocks.
Though the interior burial chamber or cave – if there truly is one – has never been uncovered, there is a singular secondary burial of a six year old child. The grave was dug into the southeast angle of the pyramid at a height of three metres above ground, and contained offerings of a tripod vase and a hemispherical bowl. However, by the time the child was buried here, the site was no longer in “original” use.
At the base of the pyramid, archaeologists have also found remains of several animals, which have been interpreted as having been used in sacred meals used on the site. Contu speculated that the meals were linked with the beginning of the agricultural year, in which fertility rites were normally put on, with a marriage of heaven and earth – noting that the pyramid/ziggurat was often seen as a meeting place between heaven and earth. The fact that the structure incorporates some lunar alignments, adds weight to this possibility.
However, Gimbutas said that the structure – which she described as a platform, rather than a pyramid – “may have been used for excarnation”. It would mean that the dead were exposed on the platform, and that animals – most often birds – were allowed to eat away the flesh of the dead. It is a practice in common use in the Middle East and other cultures, but there is insufficient evidence to draw this conclusion for Monte d’Accoddi.
Others have called the site a “prehistoric altar”, shying away from identifying it as a ziggurat or pyramid. However, Leonardo Melis has gone where few dare to tread. He even wonders whether the name Accoddi refers to Akkad, which was the name of a region of the Middle East – containing ziggurats – under the reign of Sargon I. However, ingenious and interesting the linguistic parallels are, Sargon only ruled ca. 2270–2215 BC, at a time when the pyramid was already long constructed.

Though the pyramid is the site’s dominating construction, various other structures on the site are equally interesting. The stone sphere sitting near the entrance of the ramp is 0.9 metres high, 4.85 metres in circumference and weighs 1.3 tonnes. Relatively small and to many perhaps unimportant, it is nevertheless another oop-art. Nearby sits a second stone, made from calcium, 0.6 metres high. The bigger stone has cracked and is egg shaped. And, indeed, some archaeologists refer to this stone as an omphalos stone, and compare it to similar stones found in Delphi. The omphalos stone identified a site as a “centre of the world”, as well as a meeting place of heaven and earth.
However, in Greece, the stones are much smaller. If anything, this stone sphere has more in common with the stone spheres of Costa Rica or Bosnia, though in those countries, what they precisely symbolised, has so far not been adequately explained. However, such stones do normally share a common denominator: they were normally located at sites that were deemed to be places of emergence, where heaven and earth had come together. This should begin to sound familiar by now…

However, despite almost forty years of excavation on the site, we know little as to what Monte d’Accoddi was, beyond the “visually obvious”. We do not know its use, nor why it was built, or why it was unique. However, the fact that there are so many questions, illustrates how little we truly know about “the pyramid movement” and how it inspired people all over the world, whether in Egypt, Peru, Mesopotamia or here in Sardinia, to begin the construction of pyramids. Currently, the oldest pyramids have been found in Peru. And though in the “Old World” we link pyramids specifically with Egypt, one group of people in north-western Sardinia had built one long before the Egyptian Pyramid Age ever began. That’s all we know, and that’s not much, is it?

Watch the video: A Mesopotamian Ziggurat or Ancient Pyramid in Sardinia: Monte DAccoddi. Ancient Architects (May 2022).


  1. Errando

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  2. Tejora

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  3. Keme

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  4. Merlyn

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  5. Wohehiv

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