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Home > Museum > Halls > Hall 2: Prenuragic Era > The Prenuragic funeral architecture: Domus de Janas

The Prenuragic funeral architecture: Domus de Janas

These are the most widespread evidence of the Late Neolithic Age in the island and can be ascribed mostly to the Ozieri culture (first half of the fourth millennium BC), widely attested to. It produced monuments and ceramic artefacts of exceptional refinement, although it is an established fact that the origin of hypogeism, in a broader sense, dates back to the Middle Neolithic Age (the tombs set in arificial caves probably date back to the previous  and less known facies of San Ciriaco – Recent Neolithic period).

These are hypogeal tombs set in artificial caves (in the Sardinian language they are called domus de janas, literally “the houses of the fairies”) which can be isolated or in small groups and, more rarely, such as the case of Partulesi in Ittireddu, they can be grouped together in huge necropolis.  In the island there are about a few thousands domus de janas (the traditional number of 2,000 hypogea is now in net growth thanks to new and continuous acquisitions) and appear to be more widespread in northern and centralSardinia (excluding Gallura), although there are also magnificent examples in the southern areas, particularly in Sulcis.

A limited number of these hypogea show decorations: 191 examples present symbolic figures painted and/or sculpted and, more rarely, engraved: these  focus on the artistic representation of an animal with horns (cattle in 96% of cases and, to a lesser extent, only 4 %of cases, a mouflon , a ram or other animals). One of the most interesting features, variously attested, is characterised by architectural decorations interpreted as a transposition of domestic architecture or the representation of huts.

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