Giants' grave

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Tomb of the Giants in Lanusei.

Giants' tomb (Italian: Tomba dei giganti, Sardinian: Tumba de sos zigantes) is the name given by local people and archaeologists to a type of Sardinian megalithic gallery grave built during the Bronze Age by the Nuragic civilization. They can be found throughout Sardinia, with 800 being discovered there.

A stone cairn lies over the burial chambers, with some examples having a cup-shaped entrance similar to the court cairn tombs of Ireland.


There are two general types of giants' tomb. In the so-called "slab type", uncut slabs are buried on end in the ground, and are arranged side-by-side. There is usually a central stele, which is the largest slab (up to 4 m in height) and has a doorway cut through it. The sepulchres have a characteristic rectangular plan with an apse. The burial chamber is usually 5 to 15 metres long and 1 to 2 metres high. The structures were originally covered by a mound resembling the shape of an overturned ship. Near the entrance an obelisk (betile in Sardinian) is usually found, which symbolizes the gods or ancestors who watched over the dead.

Coddu Vecchju - Arzachena

In the more primitive slab-type giants tombs, the central slab is unmodified aside from the entrance that is cut through it at the base, or else there is a crude dolmen-like arrangement of 3 uncut rocks to form the entrance (Osono, Sortali, Lolghi, Pescaredda). In more advanced slab-type giants tombs, the central slab is modified so as to be rounded on top, and has a simple design carved into the front surface (Dorgali, Goronna, Santu Bainzu, Coddu Vecchju).

The so-called "block type" tombs are made of rectangular-cut blocks (Bidistili, Madau II, Seleni II, Iloi, Mura Cuata).

There are also structures similar to the block-type giants tombs on the island of Malta and in the United Kingdom.[1]

List of major tombs

See also


Image gallery

External links

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