The Sardinian Ziggurat: Monte d’Accoddi!

And yes,between many wonders of art and sardinian archaeologist,there is even a zigguratthe sardinian ziggurat called Prehistoric Alter of Monte d’Accoddi! The dating more probable stands between 4000 and 3500 B.C. This amazing archaeological site is located in subregion of Nurra in the municipality of Sassari. This altar pyramid-shaped that resembles very much ziggurat of Mesopotamia, is unique in all Europe and in all Mediterranean area.It can be stated then that in Sardinia exist the only one european ziggurat discovered so far!

The main difference between mesopotamian ziggurat and the sardinian one lies in the fact that the first ones are built with fired bricks whereas the second ones are made with stones. Altar of Monte d’Accoddi is thus the unique stone-built ziggurat  all over the world! This wonder has been brought to light around the middle of the 20th century, precisely it was discovered in 1947 and escavation began in 1952 in a place that has always been believed to be a hill,indeed ziggurat was completely covered with earth! The top of the altar has been damaged throughout World War II therefore with every probability it must be higher than current height equal to approximately 10 meters. Archaeoligists have speculated that altar was dedicated female divinity after have observed some engravings recovered on a granitic stele not far from altar.It was surely a place of cerimonial rites and it was used almost certainly for animal sacrifice but maybe even humans,but the question we ask ourselves in front of this ancient prehistoric building is as follow: who built it? Nuragic people or someone else since this ziggurat is unicum in all Europe! Some popular belief of the place tells a alternative story that seems almost a fairytale, although it could be real. It tells about a priest-prince escaped from the Middle East who ordered the costruction of altar as a tribute to the Moon while middle-eastern ziggurat  are built to pay homage to the Sun.

However that may be, altar has been built certainly in two distinct periods: first Final Neolithic (3500-2900 B.C.) called also phase of the “red temple” whereas in Eneolithic (2700 B.C.) there was the phase of “step-like temple” which incorporaded previous.         

Prenuragic Altar of Monte d’Accoddi,North Sardinia

All around altar we can find various other archaeological structures like menhir and unusual spherical rocks which are thought could represent the sun and the moon. In the northern part of altar we can find two stone stele one of which  engraved with the silhouette of Mother Goddess!

You can even find always around altar,ruins of what might be a shed which was renamed shed of the chief because of findings that have been found in its interior like pottery and objects suitable for the preparation of ritual drinks.On the right of shed of chief we can see a big flat stone slab that was used to perform ritual sacrifices since between slab and shed of chief have been unearthed several animal bones which confirm the theory of ritual sacrifices. It appears that altar has retained its religious function for about a thousands years and then be abandoned and reused from time to time for burials.

Altar of Monte d’Accoddi,viewed from above

Altar of Monte d’Accoddi has been,without doubt, a magic place made of ritual ceremonies,animal sacrifices and maybe even human sacrifices,but its deepest goal was,as all votive altars,to want to be a point of meeting between sky and earth, a meeting between human sphere and divine one; this primordial desire has always accompanied history of mankind and these ancient buildings so full of fascination and mystery do nothing more but confirm the urge of man to go beyond earthly life trying so hard a divine contact. I wonder if those ancient people really felt a “contact with their gods”,as happen in a different way but similar,to modern man which with their churches,mosques and synagogues, keep to looking for those “divine contact” that may give a deepest meaning of his existence.      

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