Welcome back to our virtual tour among the finds of the Archaeological Museum of Cagliari.
Today we begin to tell you about Sulci (or Sulky), today’s Sant’Antioco, the city founded by Phoenician merchants in the western part of the islet of Sant’Antioco.
At the current state of knowledge, it is the oldest urban settlement in Sardinia, founded by the mid-eighth century BC, i.e., 750 BC.
During the Phoenician and then Punic times it was a rich and flourishing center, thanks above all to its strategic position on the trade routes between the eastern and western Mediterranean.
In our showcase today there are also three Nuragic bronze statuettes, two of which come from unknown locations in the Sulcitana region. One depicts a warrior with a studded armor protecting the front of the body and a conical helmet with a central crest. It seems to have been found in Sant’Anna Arresi, but the lack of a reference context makes it difficult to establish a certain dating, which could be late, around the 7th-6th century. B.C.
Another particular bronze statuette comes from the unknown locality of Saliu and represents a male figure, standing on the back of a horse, in the act of shooting the arrow from the bow. The singular representation could be linked to a particular balancing act, archery, perhaps practiced in the festivals that took place in the great nuragic sanctuaries.
From Sant’Antioco near the Savoy castle, below which the remains of a nuraghe are preserved, a small bronze statuette of a mouflon was found, a fairly common representation in Nuragic bronze statuettes that provides numerous depictions of domestic and wild fauna (9th-8th century B.C).
The Phoenician Sulky has fully revealed itself to the attention of scholars since the 1980s, when excavations in the area of the Cronicario of Sant’Antioco brought to light the remains of the first Phoenician settlement of the 8th century. B.C.
Numerous Phoenician ceramic fragments have been found in the pavement of the houses: plates, oil lamps, commercial amphorae, cups, animal-shaped askoi; as well as Phoenician-made ceramics imitating original Greek and pottery produced in Greece: lekythoi, skyphoi, cups. All objects that bear the dating of the foundation towards the mid-eighth century BC.
Indications in this sense had been obtained from materials of old excavations, such as the cinerary urn of Greek colonial manufacture from Pithecusa (Ischia) found in the tophet, dated to the end of the eighth century. BC, together with other Phoenician urns of the same chronological period.
From the Phoenician Sulci we know other significant objects from old finds, such as a large double cup, oil lamps, animal-shaped askoi, a small amphora that takes up Hellenic shapes, a pair of helmets and a bronze greaves of Greek manufacture, an elaborate ritual vase in which the functions of lamp and kernos (a vessel with many openings in which offerings of different nature were placed) are combined, decorated with the representation of human faces and a votive plaque depicting a male face.