Friday, August 26, 2016

Sardinia Journal V: Mont 'e Prama

watercolor of ancient Sardinian statue by Hallie Cohen
Cabras is a village on the Western coast of Sardinia which dates from the seventh century AD. One of the more creative accommodations is Aquae Sinis, an “Albergo Diffuso,” meaning that unlike a normal hotel, its rooms are spread out across a campus of 17th century structures. But in the late afternoon during siesta, when the streets are deserted, the town has the look of a de Chirico painting, characterized as it is by wide open classic spaces that create a haunting feeling of emptiness. The old and the new exist in a stately counterpoint in Cabras. The landscape is dotted with ancient Spanish towers counterbalanced with huge modern granary silos, that look like airport control towers. If you go to the Il Museo Civico di Cabras you can see the results of one of the most important excavations in modern archeological history and something that rivals Stonehenge in its significance—a necropolis from the 9th century BC discovered in the Mont ‘e Prama area outside of town.  Over 5000 fragments which had once been part of 30 enormous statues of archers, warriors and boxers, known as "the Giants of Mont 'e Prama," were discovered above graves in which crouched figures were buried. And when it comes to desecration it turns out the Islamic State is just the new boy on the block. All of these figures show evidence of having been plundered by an invading army, probably Phoenicians. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. ISIS definitely did a job on Palmyra and at the Mont 'e Prama site, archeologists are demonstrating how history repeats itself.

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