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The Museum of Prehistory and Early History in the New Museum is the first European venue of a major exhibition dedicated to the ancient megalithic cultures of Sardinia and in particular to the Nuragic culture. After Berlin, the international show will have as further stops the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, the National Archaeological Museum in Thessaloniki and the MANN - National Archaeological Museum in Naples.

Krieger mit Schwert und Schild, Bronze, Fundort Padria, Eisenzeit
Krieger mit Schwert und Schild, Bronze, Fundort Padria, Eisenzeit © Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Cagliari

It presents to the visitors the stories, material evidences, fascinating and unique landscapes and civilizations of the ancient megalithic cultures of Sardinia, which continue to pose many questions to the research.

Sardinia - An island in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea

Sardinia is an island in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, to which today international scholarship increasingly attributes an important role in prehistoric and early historic contacts and exchanges between civilizations, both in the "Mare Nostrum" (Tyrrhenian Sea) and in relations with Central and Northern Europe and the Levant. On the island, original cultures and civilizations developed thousands of years ago, leaving us unique monumental structures and remains that still characterize the Sardinian landscape. These remains have fascinated and challenged many generations of visitors and scholars to elucidate their meaning and purpose and to reconstruct the customs and rituals of the ancient Sardinian peoples.

Searching for the real history of the ancient Sardinian civilizations

Myth and legend have often intersected with history when it comes to interpreting the ancient Sardinian civilizations - these were considered communities with no state structure and no writing, and are still the focus of study, excavation and research. However, more is now known about their millennia-long nature and activity. The exhibition provides an overview of the current state of knowledge, through important finds from the archaeological museums of Cagliari, Nuoro and Sassari and through detailed educational and multimedia tools, scale models and 3D reconstructions that allow visitors to explore and deepen the historical and geographical context of the exhibition.

Sardinia as a cultural landscape: Megalithism

Megalithism - the practice of constructing buildings out of massive stones - is the guiding theme around which Sardinia's history is traced. This cultural practice shaped the island over a long period of time, from the Neolithic to the Bronze and Iron Ages, and is still inscribed in the Sardinian landscape today - through the legacies of the Nuraghic civilization, in particular the 8000 or so towers known as "nuraghi".

Culture of the nuraghi: Shaping Sardinia's HistoryThe exhibition focuses on the domus de janas - tombs from the Neolithic and Copper Ages - and the iconic statuettes of "mother goddesses," some of which are true masterpieces of art. Nuraghic culture shaped the Bronze Age on the island in many ways: through the collective tombs known as "giant tombs," via their contacts with distant civilizations, and in the form of the extraordinary Nuraghic bronze statuettes depicting women, men, warriors and animals. The exhibition features votive swords, scale models of buildings and ships, and the extraordinary, imposing Mont'e Prama warriors: self-representations of the mythical past set in the heyday of the Nuraghic period but dating well into the Iron Age. Finally, the exhibition traces how the traces of this original culture were preserved even after the conquest of Sardinia by Carthage at the end of the 6th century BC and the subsequent arrival of the Romans. "Sardinia - Island of Megaliths" is a special exhibition organized by the Department of Tourism, Handicrafts and Trade of the Region of Sardinia in collaboration with the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari and the Regional Directorate of Museums of Sardinia, the Museum of Prehistory and Early History of the National Museums in Berlin, as well as the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, the National Archaeological Museum in Thessaloniki and the National Archaeological Museum in Naples (MANN). It is under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and the Italian Ministry of Culture (MIC) in collaboration with the Fondazione di Sardegna. The organization and general coordination was the responsibility of Villaggio Globale International.

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