Sardinia is volcanic earth and although the cones with the burning magma have been dormant for over one hundred thousand years, the highest episodes of fossil volcanism can still be admired. An entire landscape is marked by this past. Hills and mountains of truncated cone shape, punctuate the territory by rising on floors formed by lava flows.Dark, brownish, blackish or blood-red rocks, sometimes with shades of orange, often in curious shapes, marked by the boiling of the earth, are the colors that in spring contrast the green of the pastures and that in the summers make the scenery even more dry and dry. These rocks speak, and mark the ancient activities of the countryside, the megalithic constructions, the materials of use, entire villages built with them, in an incredible vitality and vitality. This fragment of the geological history of the island, generated by the fire of the earth, also marked the history of men, triggering the prehistoric mining thanks to that dark translucent volcanic glass, which is nothing but obsidian. And the obsidian of the great island of the western Mediterranean, became, before the advent of metals, the material of exchange between men over the sea, as if the fire of the land of Sardinia had wanted, in a certain way, to overcome the water of the sea, border and limit of the island.
- The extinct volcanoes of the Meilogu
The historical region of Meilogu, in the center of Logudoro in the province of Sassari, has a concentration of no less than 13 extinct volcanic cones, volcanic formations and lava flows that give this territory a completely unique shape.One thinks of Mount Annaru di Giave, an almost intact crater that emerges isolated on the plateau and that thanks to the rains hosts a small lake during winter months, while during the summer months it allows the descent into its gorge to admire the original geological structure about fifty deep meters. Characteristic is nearby a large fortress, “Sa pedra Mendalza”, a formation of solidified lava, slightly pointed, on the top of which crows and raptors nest on the whole fertile valley known as “the valley of the Nuraghi”. Unique in Italy is “Su Muru ‘e ferru”, the iron wall, a real volcanic wall that takes its name from the compactness of the lava flow high between 9 and 10 meters and wide between 2 and 4 meters that descends regularly and vertical along the slopes of another extinct volcano, Mount Ruju (the red mountain) between Siligo and Cheremule. Peculiar stone of this territory is called “cheremulite” because extracted from the quarries of Monte Cuccureddu in Cheremule from about 1950 to 1990: a sort of pumice stone used as an insulator in construction.
Dolmen Sa Coveccada (Mores -Sassari)
A majestic use that intimidates the view is that given by the architecture of one of the most important monuments of Sardinian megalithism and the Mediterranean. It is the largest dolmen of the island, visible at a distance, imposing with its three meters of height, stands in a dominant position on a flat surface of a trachitic table. The volcanic stone is used here in all its grandeur, for a funerary monument of the Neolithic that already represents the architectural evolution towards the future tombs of the giants of the Nuragic age. Unfortunately there are very few archaeological data on this monument and therefore the many questions about who were the guests who had to have eternal sleep not always have an answer, but its charm gives us the certainty that, here, the impressive stone tables they are protagonists and mark the solemnity of a millennial past.
- Nuraghe Santu Antine (Torralba Sassari)
It stands in the middle of the so-called “valley of the Nuraghi” – the valley of the Logudoro Meilogu area, where about thirty nuraghi and ten giants’ graves are concentrated – one of the best preserved and most fascinating Nuragic monuments of the island, already depicted since the end of 1700 and known, in the chronicles of European visitors of the 19th century, as a large and imposing building in dark lava stone. The monument of extraordinary magnificence consists of a central tower originally three stories, surrounded by a trilobed bastion with three circular towers, inside which courtyards, stairways, stairways, corridors intertwine between the megalithic and dark dry walls. A masterful example of residential architecture and military structure together, in which the construction capacity with the use of basalt stones in dry masonry, makes this monument born around the sixteenth century. to. C. and lived until the eighth century to. C., as one of the most representative constructions of Sardinia Nuragica. Around it is a village of circular huts, and further along, along the volcanic valley, other nuraghe towers in dark basalt. A remote landscape in which the extinct volcanic lavas, reconstructed by men of the Bronze Age, become hearths of ancient history.
- Archaeological Area of Santa Maria di Mesumundu or Bubalis (Siligo – Sassari)
Within a river valley of the Rio Mannu between the basaltic plateaus of Mount Pelao and Monte Santo stands the small church of Byzantine origin of Our Lady of Mesumundu or Bubalis.
In all likelihood, the presence of two sources of water, one hot and one cold, and the wall remains of an aqueduct made one think of the remains of a Roman baths dating back to the II-III century. AD, and so the discovery of a brick kiln, always of imperial age, identified this place as of particular importance in the Roman road to Karalibus Turrem that from Cagliari led to Porto Torres.
The small Byzantine church, built in dark trachyte and bricks, with a circular plan and a barrel dome was built around the 6th century. It is believed that in the Romanesque age the temple was readapted by the Benedictine monks, according to ecclesiastical dictates after the schism. The Benedictine monks of Cassino donated the basilica “Sancte Maria Dei genitricis domini, de loco quod diccitur Bubalis”, or the church of Santa Maria Madre di Dio, of the place they call Bubalis. . Many historical and archaeological interpretations related to this place, warm for its colors and spiritual for its forms. In the popular stories of the elderly it is said that in the skylight of the church that looks towards Siligo, now closed, there was located the ancient Byzantine statue of the Madonna carrying the Child holding the World (hence Mesumundu ). And to this place so central, so frequented over millennia, made of stones from the bowels of the earth, this name is well suited.
- Monte Arci and the obsidian (Pau – Oristano)
The mantle of Monte Arci, an isolated massif on the Campidano plain consisting of three towers of basaltic lava flows, lies on a trachyte skeleton. This place has played a fundamental role in the millennia due to the presence of important deposits of obsidian: a volcanic rock, produced by the effusion of lavas particularly rich in silica. Particular conditions of rapid cooling of the lava on the earth’s surface, are at the origin of the structural homogeneity and of its characteristic glassiness, making it unmistakable. It is black, dark gray, sometimes with almost bluish or silvery shades, glassy and translucent, or in the thinner, almost transparent shards. It is resistant and workable to such an extent that it provides the cutting points and therefore the most suitable flint. It can become in its sharp and pointed forms to be lethal in weapons. This versatility has made it a sought-after and important material for man and being rare and precious in the Mediterranean, since it can only be found in Sardinia, in Lipari (in the Aeolian Islands) and in Melos (in the Cyclades), the importance of Monte Arci is result. Prehistory Sardinia owes its great richness to this material: obsidian has surpassed the boundaries of the islands where the deposits lie, has increased human travels, contacts with other peoples, the exchange of cultures and artefacts. It has favored development and the cultures themselves.How many tools, tools has built man with this material. The charm of a rock, generated by the core of the earth, which has influenced the existence of man and his own evolution, also pleasing his artistic skills in working it. And here in this mountain the still vast expanses of this stone in the shade of the holm oaks make the land from which it proves almost sacred.