Archeologists excavating the Mont’e Prama necropolis on the Italian island of Sardinia have discovered the giant torsos of two warrior statues.
The monumental statues, dating from the iron age, were carved from limestone by the Nuragic civilization which occupied the island until the second century AD.
The latest discoveries join a collection of statues of wrestlers, archers and boxers unearthed at the archeological site on the west coast of the island since the 1970s. This army of warrior sculptures is known as “the giants of Mont’e Prama” and has brought worldwide fame to the Sardinian site.
The new finds are two bare torsos and accompanying fragments. They have been identified as Cavalupo boxers because of their particular shields which cover the stomach and wrap around the arm. Two similar sculptures also bearing curved shields were found only a few meters away in 2014.
The torsos came to light after new excavations began in the vast necropolis in early April. Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, described the finds as, “An exceptional discovery which will be followed by others.”
He added that the statues will help advance studies into the ancient Nuragic culture. Dating from three thousand years ago, the Mediterranean civilization remains shrouded in mystery. The Mont’e Prama archeological site first came to light in 1974, stumbled upon by local farmers.
Archeologists working on the site have also discovered an important burial route lined with tombs dating from 950 BC to 730 BC. There are hopes this will shed further light on the Nuragic culture as most of the 170 tombs uncovered so far almost exclusively housed the bodies of young men.
Archeologists will now begin the process of removing and cleaning the giant torsos, a painstaking task due to the fragility of the limestone. They also hope to resolve the unanswered questions of the giants’ function, perhaps as sacred guardians of the burial site or as monuments to fallen heroes. In the meantime, plans are in place to expand the excavation area.