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#stories from the Archaeological Museum of Cagliari. Episode 61

Welcome back, continue to follow us on our virtual journey through the collection of the Archaeological Museum of Cagliari.

Today we bring you in front of the showcases on the second floor of the Museum where the finds from the temple of Antas are found.

The sanctuary is located in the center of a suggestive valley in the territory of Fluminimaggiore.

The place had been frequented since the Nuragic age, as evidenced by a bronze figurine depicting a naked man with a spear, currently on display in the “Mont’e Prama” exhibition on the third floor of the Museum. There are no traces of the nuragic place of worship, but a short distance away there is a burial ground with single well tombs dated to the Iron Age (9th-8th century BC).

In the Punic period the sanctuary experienced at least two building phases: the first around 500 BC dating back to the very first period of Carthaginian domination, the other during the fourth century BC, during which the temple was restored in a Punic-Hellenistic key.

Few structures remain from the Punic phase, but a large amount of votive material that was mainly kept inside a compartment, perhaps dedicated to the ex-voto deposit.

Among the objects found there are parts of marble statues, bone figurines, sometimes embellished with golden ornaments, parts of figures in painted clay, hands in bronze, plumed headdresses, numerous amulets, caduceus in silver, leaves in gold and silver, coins and votive inscriptions that show the name of the main divinity: Sid, a complex figure of a hunter and healer god, who is also given the attribute of Babai, perhaps with the meaning of “father”. Other deities attested in the dedications are Melqart, probably assimilated to Sid, Horon and Shadafra, healing deities and the goddess Elat, perhaps to be identified as the Greek Demeter.

The peculiar characteristics of the deities venerated in the temple of Antas are partly revealed by the votive materials found.

A large number of javelins refer to the warrior and hunter personality of the god Sid, while caduceus bring us back to his health-giving aspect.
There are small testimonies of the richness of the offerings such as the leaves in gold and silver foil and the precious heads in ivory and glass paste, in addition, the bearded male face which had to be completed with elements of different materials.

After the Punic period, the temple underwent a first restructuring in the Augustan age (end of the 1st century BC), of which only some clay decorations remain with the representation of the winged victory and human figures, which was followed by a total reconstruction in shapes monumental in the third century under the principality of Caracalla.

The temple thus takes on the appearance presented in the current restoration, with a front porch of 4 columns with an Ionic capital that support an architrave on which runs the dedication to Sardus Pater, an indigenous divinity, which has been identified as the Roman transposition of the previous god Sid.

Even in Roman times the sanctuary was rich in votive offerings, of which only few oddments remain: fragments of bronze hands belonging to statues of slightly less than life size, bronze statuettes, coins, inscriptions, albeit in much smaller numbers compared to the Punic era.

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