History of the Local Area.
The oldest traces of human presence in Sardinia date back to the early Paleolithic (c.500, 000 Years ago). Flintstone implements have been found near Perfugas and Laerru. After an apparent gap of Millennia, we arrive at the Late Paleolithic, (c. 12,000 B.C.) Remains of deer bones back to that period and showing direct signs of contemporary human presence have been found in the Corbeddu cave of Oliena. In the same cave, a layer dating to 7444 B.C. + or – 380 years, by Radiocarbon dating method, were found the oldest certain human remains on the Island. It should be noted that the site was disturbed and the remains could have come from the layer below it, dated to around 10,000 B.C. That would have these remains ascribed to the Mesolithic (or Epipaleolithic) of which there is no other reliable evidence found yet on this island.
The early Neolithic (from 6000-4000 B.C.) coincides with the first important cultural evidence: pottery appears, sometimes decorated with tool impressions or the edge of a cardium shell. Compared to the Paleolithic, stone implements are smaller and more carefully shapes. Finds include arrowheads, Burins and Knives. This period sees the discovery of animal breeding and agriculture, witnessed by the stone pestles and querns, cereal seeds and domestic animal bones that have been found. The exploitation and trade of the obsidian from Mount Arci in Central Sardinia has been ascertained. The mineral was exported to Corsica, Tuscany, Emilia, Liguria, southern France and even to Catalonia.
At the close of the early Neolithic a transition phase takes place called “Filiestru” and characterized by an almost total lack of decoration on pottery.
During the middle Neolithic, (c. 4000-3500 B.C. ) the Bonoighnu culture ( named after a cave near Mara) develops, settled in caves or out in the open. The first small funerary caves are cut into the bedrock, (Cuccuru Arrius-Cabras) Pottery is of careful workmanship and often exquisitely decorated. The statuettes of the Mother Goddess, represented as an obese woman, belong to this period.
The Late Neolithic ( c. 3500-2500 B.C.) is represented by the Ozeiri culture, found all over the Island. Settlements increase in number and size. This is the phase when funerary underground architecture develops with thousands of tombs, the “Domus de Janas” (Houses of the fairies) in which the symbols of spirituality ( Bull’s heads, Spirals, false doors etc.) or even the architectural elements of the houses of the living, Pillars, roof beams, seats and hearths are sometimes represented. Pottery shows a rich variety of shapes for vases and decorative patterns realized by various methods. The mother goddess is represented in many statuettes, which are not "volumetric" any more but of a geometric-abstract type( cycladic idols).
At the end of the late Neolithic, megalithism (dolmens and menhirs) spreads in the island; the tomb circles of Gallura and the graves of the funerary site of Pranu Mutteddu (Goni, Province of Cagliari) date top this period.
During the Copper Age (c. 2500-1800 B.C.) first the Ozeiri culture gradually passes into the Filigosa culture, characterized by the angular outline of its pottery, and the Abealzu Culture, with it's typical flask shaped vessels. From a cultural point of view, there is considerable impoverishment compared to the previous Ozieri phase: this is due to increasing conflicts between the populations throughout the Mediterranean Basin at the time.
During this period, the dead are still buried in the Neolithic Domus de Janas and new ones are dug; the armed menhir statues of Sarcidano appear beside the dolmen tombs. Near Sassari, the peculiar altar of Monte d'Accoddi is built. It is a sort of Ziggurat, and unique in the whole Mediterranean Basin. The second Phase is that of the Monte Claro culture which, though it assumes various local faces, is characterized by a type of pottery mostly ornamented by grooves. Some Megalithic walls ( Monte Baranta, Olmedo) are built in order to control of the territory, an evidence of the atmosphere of insecurity and thus the need for defense, which characterized this phase of prehistory.
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