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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sardinian Neolithic art in danger

I got a special newsletter some weeks ago from Diego Menozzi and Paola Arasio, who lead the excellent site on Megalithic monuments
Stone Pages and its affiliated forum, but I did not realize the relevance of what they said on it until now: some tomb in Sardinia with conservation issues, you know: the typical problems of archaeology as governments don't care about culture, much less if it doesn't provide political redits.

But now I have accessed to their colorful press release along with Prof. George Nash (via Pileta de Prehistoria) and the problem suddenly became more striking and pressing:

Clear why, right? How can such a beautiful and well preserved monument from what surely was the all-times Sardinian apogee (the Nuraghe era) be treated as some nuisance the government does not want to spend money in protecting and promoting?

The site is known as the Checkered Tomb or Tomba della Schachiera (also: Sa Pala Larga 7) and is located in Bonorva, NW Sardinia, along with many other tombs and monuments, probably dated to the 3rd millennium BCE. It was excavated recently and merely disposed of afterwards, by covering the entrance with a concrete slab (permeable to water and somewhat corrosive) and destroying much of the context by filling with concrete as well, receiving so little attention that even the mayor of the town was unaware of the findings.

For the authors of the press release, this monument and others in the area is easily comparable to famous Maltese monuments, however would not it be for nearby farmer, Mr. Porcu, who took photos in the latest excavation season, in 2009, we would not have even a picture of them... anywhere, except maybe in some forgotten archive of the Italian cultural bureaucracy.

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