Numerous stone structures known as nuraghi can be found on the Italian island of Sardinia. These megalithic (large stone) buildings were constructed in the second and first millennia BCE. Typically, a nuraghe has three parts: a tower-like outer shell made of layers of stones that diminish in size along the height of the structure; an inner shell of smaller stones to create a pointed interior dome; and a filler of small stones and dirt to provide stability to the structure, which stands only by force of its own weight. The tallest surviving nuraghi rise to a height of sixty feet (20 m.) and weigh several tons. Almost 7,000 of these fascinating structures still survive, primarily in the northwest and south-central sections of the island.

As the builders of nuraghi left no written record, archaeologists are unsure of their original function. They may have served religious, military, domestic, and/or civic purposes.

Thank you to Fabio Cocco Carreras for suggesting this topic.

“Tholos” of Sant’Antine, Torralba. Photo: Michael Koch

Central tower, Nuraghe, Sant’Antine, Torralba

Nuraghe Ruju, near Chiaramonti

Nuraghe Losa, near Abbasanta

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