The sacred rams of Sa Sedda and Sos Carros Sardinia

One of the most remarkable aspects of Sardinia archaeology is that it can constantly surprise. The journey to Sa Sedda and Sos Carros is a long and winding one, through dirt tracks and narrow roads. It puts us in contact with remote places and ancient worlds. Although this Nuragic complex dates from 14th century BC its location in a valley rich in Palaeolithic remains and evidence in nearby caves of some of the earliest human habitations in Europe, Sa Oche. Sa Sedda and Sos Carros is often overlooked by those taking a track to the better known Tiscali, but it is just as unique if not more so…for the one thing Tiscali did not have..a water supply.

The site

The site consists of a several huts which focus on a sacred area, characterised by a central court. Several circular rooms surround the courtyard with one of them containing a beautiful and unique sacred fountain this was built with the use of basalt ashlars. One made with limestone ashlars and had some ram protomes from which the water originally poured gathering in the central wide circular basin. The room is paved with limestone slabs and has a counter-bench running along the wall. In this area it was found a big votive deposit, including numerous bronze objects currently at the Museum of Sassari. Archaeologists found a large quantity of bronze offerings and an orientalising bowl dating from the 8th century.

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Foundry or Fountainhead?

In 1977 excavation discovered such a range and size of bronzes that it may have been a foundry. Evidence of iron slag was also significantly discovered. However no crucibles nor layers of ash to prove the foundry theory so it would suggest that this was a significant site.

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The sacred well

Two particular aspects are notable of this area. The most noticeable are the uses of basalt blocks, some of which are over 1 metre long. Basalt is not found locally and so their presence is interesting. How did they get here and from where? One theory is that they were recycled from an earlier sacred building, however this asks the question where did these come from and why? The why is easier to explain. The basalt blocks are arranged in one room which appears to be a storage tank for water. This would be important because basalt is impermeable to water and in such a dry environment every drop would be valuable.

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The ram heads

The unique aspect of the well are the ram heads. Rams are found as votive bronzetti such as that which can be seen in Cagliari museum dating from the 8th-7th century. We know very little of the Nuragic civilizations religion but of course the ram is a common deity not only across ancient Europe, but across the world and in particular. Often the subject of sacrifice even within the Bible it is both slain instead of Isaac by Abraham and represents the ultimate sacrifice as Christ in the New Testament. However, it is perhaps the Sardinian view was more akin to Ancient Egypt where the ram was seen as figure of fertility. Was it used here to represent the properties of the waters here? One wonders the connection too with the Urthos from the Fonni carnival which are supposed to represents the ‘God of Darkness’, identified by some as a bear, but the hair is clearly a ram! Sadly we shall probably never know the significance of this sacred site.

About pixyledpublications

Currently researching calendar customs and folklore of Nottinghamshire

Posted on September 19, 2015, in Italy, Pagan gods, Restoration, Sardinia and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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