Sites and events Prehistorical altar of Monte d'Accoddi

Prehistorical altar of Monte d'Accoddi

Prehistorical altar of Monte d'Accoddi

Sassari (SS)

The prehistorical altar of Monte d'Accoddi was built in two phases at the time of the Culture of Ozieri (4000-3200 BC) and the culture of Filigosa and Abealzu (3200-2700 BC). It has the aspect of a piramid or ziqqurath with an access ramp. Around it there is a large village (not excavated). Interesting features are the menhir, the large stone table and the perfectly oval stone.

Prehistorical altar of Monte d'Accoddi

The prehistoric altar of Monte d'Accoddi is very particular monument and unique for the entire western Mediterranean area. The monument lies halfway between Sassari and Porto Torres. It is very similar to a ziggurat, a truncated piramid with a long ramp. The origins of the monument has been dated back to about 4000-3200 BC, the period of the culture of Ozieri. The name Accoddi is probably derived from the word coda which means stone. Excavations have been done under the guidance of the archaeologists Ercole Contu and Santo Tiné. Around the altar remains of an extended village can be seen that has only been partially excavated and not very far from the place there are several burial sites with Domus de Janas can be found that date to the same period; Su Crucifissu Mannu, Ponte Secco, Marinaru and Monte d'Accoddi.

The prehistoric altar in it's first phase was lower and smaller and had on top a kind of temple painted with red ochre, the red temple. In the second phase the altar was raised, incorporating the small temple. After the excavations the monument was restored, but it may not have had the staircase or the form it has been given now, the archaeologists still disagree on the original architecture of the altar. All archaeological finds, including three votive steles found near the monument, have been transferred to the archaeological museum of Sassari. In this museum a model of the reconstructed altar of Monte d'Accoddi can be seen next to a sample of the many ceramics and other artefacts.

The village that surrounded the monument consisted of rectangular huts, very different from the later round huts of Bronze Age nuragic Sardinia. One of these huts has been completely excavated, the foundations were in stone but the walls and the roof may have been made with branches and clay as could be seen from the remains after the hut was burnt down in prehistoric times. After this disaster the ceramics have remained buried for millenia where the owners had left it to be found by archaeologists.

Next to the access ramp of the altar stands a tall menhir and at the other side two oval stones can be found, one large cracked egg shaped stone and one smaller stone, and there is a large stone table with holes at the edge to attach something. Which function the stone table and the oval stones had is not known, probably these had some religious significance. The prehistoric altar must have played an important role in the area for the people that lived there, in a time that agriculture was just developed and metals were not yet used. The plains of the Nurra, between Sassari, Porto Torres and Alghero is very fertile and very suitable for agriculture. Even though the altar is called piramid or ziggurat there is no direct link with the pirmids in Egypt or the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. In the following Bronze Age with the development of the nuraghe culture the monument was no longer in use and became the hill of stones that eventually provided the reason of it's name.


1. Contu, E. 2000, L'altare preistorico di Monte d'Accoddi, Sassari
2. Tanda G. 2013, Sassari and Porto Torres, Monte d'Accoddi and Su Crucifissu Mannu, Regione Autonomo della Sardegna, Cagliari

Address: SS131 km222, Bancali (SS)

Tel: +39 3348074449

Openingtimes: June - august 9.00-19.00, november - march 9.00-14.00. In april - may and september - october 09.00-18.00; Every sunday 9.00-14.00; Closed on mondays and on holidays

Prices: Euro 3,00

Website: Museo Sanna Sassari

Guided tours are possible

The information has been updated for 2018 but prices and opening hours may vary.

Last updated 07/10/2016

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