Foreign Influences and Consequences on the Nuragic Culture of Sardinia



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Although it is accepted that Phoenician colonization occurred on Sardinia by the 9th century B.C., it is possible that contact between Sardinia?s indigenous population and the Levantine region occurred in the Late Bronze Age (LBA). Eastern LBA goods found on the island are copper oxhide ingots and Aegean pottery. Previously, it has been suggested that Mycenaeans were responsible for bringing the eastern goods to Sardinia, but the presence of Aegean pottery shards does not confirm the presence of Mycenaean tradesmen. Also, scholars of LBA trade have explained the paucity of evidence for a Mycenaean merchant fleet. Interpretations of two LBA shipwrecks, Cape Gelidonya and Uluburun, indicate that eastern Mediterranean merchants of Cypriot or Syro-Canaanite origin, transported large quantities of oxhide ingots from the Levant towards the west. It remains possible that similar itinerant merchants conducted ventures bringing eastern goods to Sardinia while exploring the western Mediterranean. Trade in eastern goods may have stimulated the advancement that occurred in Nuragic culture in the LBA, resulting in the emergence of an elite social stratum in the Nuragic society. Archaeological evidence, such as elitist burials and increasingly complex architecture, supports the idea of cultural change due to internal competition. This ?peer-polity? effect may have been incited because of limited accessibility to the exotic eastern goods and the ?ownership? to the rights of this exchange.