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Archaeological area of Tharros


The archaeological area of Tharros, located in the enchanting setting of the Sinis Peninsula, consists of the remains of the first Phoenician, then Carthaginian, and finally Roman city. It is one of the most important Sardinian archaeological sites. The finds from the excavations are currently exhibited in the archaeological museums of Cabras, Cagliari, Torino, and London.

The History

The foundation of the city in the VII century B.C., in an area already well-known during nuragic times, and in the midst of an overall process of colonization of the Mediterranean, is accredited to the Phoenicians. The original small town is unknown but the two necropolises are very noticeable. The tofet, a sanctuary destined for the burials of children who died at an early age, was positioned on the northern edge of the city.

During the second half of the VI century B.C. Carthage expansionist policy caused Sardinia to become a province of the Punic empire. Under the influence of Carthage the city was monumentalized with the construction of various buildings that are still partly preserved under those of a later age.

The imposing fortified walls to defend the city from possible attacks from land and sea were erected during Punic time. An extensive artisan quarter that specialized in iron work and some important worship places, among which the so called temple with the Doric semi-columns, were created.

Characteristic of the Punic era are also the chamber tombs from which the majority of the museum exhibited objects came from, like the famous jewelry and amulets.

After the Roman conquest of Sardinia in 238 B.C., different public monuments, such as some buildings of cult that included the small temple K, fused the architectural and cultural Punic elements with other of Italic culture.

The reorganization of the roads with the creation of the basalt paved streets following an orthogonal project, and of the sewer system, conformed the city to the urban standard in use during Roman and Imperial time. The aqueduct provided water to the city, reaching a big reservoir called castellum aquae, from where the water was channeled towards the various fountains and thermal establishments.

The Roman necropolises were bigger than the Punic ones and consisted of different types of tombs used for burial and incineration.

The city declined during the Byzantine time and was utilized as a quarry for building material throughout the Middle-Ages until 1800, when the first systematic excavations began.


Loc. San Giovanni di Sinis
09072 Cabras