The Giants’ Tombs Of Sardinia
Sardinia’s ancient origins is no better illustrated than in the Giant Tombs. The megalithic culture that pervaded in the west reached the shores of Sardinia, and its proof remains for visitors to see thousands of years later.
Of course, the existence of these enormous structures (called tomba dei giganti) has been attributed to the supernatural, thus adding to their mystery and appeal. Legend has it that giants with supernatural powers built these structures and buried their dead here. Reality is less fantastic: these giant slabs are burial chambers indeed, but they were built not by giants but by Nuraghic people who occupied Sardinia as far back as 1500 B.C. The enormity of the stone slabs (the largest of which measures more than 30 meters or 100 feet in length) probably inspired the romantic notion that giants once lived here and easily arranged the heavy stone slabs.
There are more than 500 Giants’ Tombs scattered all over Sardinia. The Nuraghic people who built these structures took the long dolmen (tombs made usually of three or more upright stone slabs supporting a large flat slab) and gallery graves (a megalithic tomb formed with parallel walls of stone slabs forming a corridor) a bit further. The tombs open with two semicircular wall extensions around an exedra, a permanent outdoor bench probably meant for gatherings. In older graves, these exedra can be found beside bigger stone slabs. The formation of the semicircular slabs forms what could be viewed from the air as a bull’s horn.
A four-meter stone can be found at the center of these structures, indicating the entrance to the tomb itself.