Sant’Antioco, Phoenician Carthaginian necropolis: Among the necropolis of the age Punic Carthaginian in Sardinia, the one of Sulcis Sant’Antioco was the most ‘important for the vastness of the funeral system, for the architectural and archaeological complexity, for the remains found during excavations in the tombs.
The section that is currently visible was used between the end of the sixth and the end of the third century. B.C. , ie during the period corresponding to the Carthaginian conquest of Sardinia.
At the Punic age the funeral was merely the interment , but there are testimonials attributable to the later rite of cremation. The graves are almost all located near the ancient Basilica of Sant’ Antioco and towards the center of the town.
The burial chambers contained no more than one deposition, while others, used at least three centuries, bear traces of 40/50 bodies. The tombs are basically made up of two parts: the access corridor, called dromos, consisting of a stair and a landing, and the burial chamber which receives the bodies of the dead and their outfits.
The body, once introduced in the hypogeum, was accompanied by ritual vases and containers . The amphorae of large and small size could be used to contain water or wine, then jugs, cups, dishes and lamps.The clay pots are the biggest objects inside the tombs, but there are also gold jewelry, amulets and glass paste scarabs used as seal.
Sant’Antioco, Tophet : “Tophet was a place of cult under the open skies, used from around 770 to 50 B.C. by the Phoenicians and then by the Carthaginians as a cemetery and crematorium for infants. The word tophet comes from the Aramaic “tapìa” which means “place of arson”.
Sant’Antioco, Undergound Village, Ipogeo: “Welcome to the subterranean village, found on the western side of the hill, overlooked by Fort Sabaudo, which since the 6th century B.C. had been dug by the Carthaginians to create tombs to bury their dead. The Carthaginian conquest of Sardinia which took place after the 5th century B.C., brought about a domain that lasted from the late 6th century to the late 3rd century B.C. when Sardinia passed under Roman dominion. …” The burial chambers were then reused as dwellings from the early centuries after the tenth century until a few years ago from the poorest families in the town
Sant’Antioco, Basilica: The Basilica of St. Antioco Martire, built over the tomb of the saint, is one of the oldest monuments in the region.
It was built around the fifth century, with a plan of Greek cross and the chancel facing east and a probable domed body, then revised and enriched with architectural elements.
In the twelfth century the church of St. Antiochus suffered widenings who changed the structure, up to hide the original construction of Middle Ages. Attributable to this date are: the inclusion of the aisles, and the lengthening of the nave, with the consequent abandonment of the Greek cross, and the construction of the main apse of the chapel to the north, a total coverage of the walls with plaster and frescoes of minor art, removed from the walls only in 1966.
And it’s possible that the paving Byzantine mosaic presumably is ruined and then gone lost
Sant’Antioco, the Catacombs: Sant’Antioco had founded the first Christian community in South West Sardinia, around the years 100 AD. With the rehabilitation of five subterranean rooms ( part of the vast areas of the Punic necropolis dating from the sixth century. B.C). this community created a real collective cemetery for the members of the faith, up to the death of Antiochus “follower of Christ”.
After the death of the martyr, fixed by tradition, in 127 AD, his body was laid in the sarcophagus (now it’s the altar at the entrance of the catacombs). Basilica di Sant’Antioco Martire,
Sant’Antioco, Archaeological Museum “Ferruccio Barreca” : “ It is the museum of the oldest city of Sardinia, in fact its materials come from the old inhabited area of the underground necropolis and tophet. The museum is one of a kind in Mediterranean Europe, offering a unique study of Phoenician and Punic civilisations.
The Roman bridge of Sant ‘Antioco known to all as “Pontimannu” represents, as indeed the other bridges in Sardinian, a “unicum” not only in its form but also in its position in the territory.
Unlike the other, it connects the mainland with an island and not the opposite shores of a river. The name recalls the existence of other bridges, smaller, which bound the island of Sant’Antioco to the mainland Sardinia through the union of the islands of the isthmus
Spinning and weaving of Bisso The silk of the Kings, extracted from a large shell.The Bisso is a fiber of animal origin of particular value: it is produced by a large bivalve mollusc (Pinna nobilis) present in the depths of the Mediterranean Sea. Its dark amber color changes when exposed to light, where the effect of the rays of the sun turns to gold. The spinning and weaving of bisso has a history that is lost in the mists of time. The Bible speaks of it as the fabric of King Solomon, Queen Hecuba, as well as Aristotle tells us … Today it remains a small museum in S. Antioco: the door is always open to visitors free of charge. Clara Rigo, teacher of spinning, want to keep alive the memory of this ancient tradition.