Notes on the Nuraghe map

In these notes the approach of the creation of the nuraghi database is explained. The next pages contain the bibliographic references; the sources, literature and websites that have been consulted. These are the references mentioned with every entry in the database. Furthermore there is information available on how to obtain the app for smartphones with the complete nuraghi database.

When I was working on the development of this website on Sardinia the idea came to me to create a database of the countless nuraghi on the island. Countless because there does not seem to be an official list of monuments and in scientific texts only estimates of the number of nuraghi are given which is between the six- and eightthousand single and complex nuraghi. In the past research has been done on the geographic distribution of the nuraghi and maps have been drafted, but these did not comprise the entire territory of Sardinia. Others have had the same idea to register the position of the nuraghi on public sites like Wikimapia. I started out in 2009 with the registration of the monuments and created a map and pages with lists of the nuraghi, a searchbox and sort orders. In these notes I will explain in more detail the method used for my research and how the data is obtained.

The method of research

The map of nuraghi
The map of nuraghi

The map of nuraghi and the accompanying List of Nuraghi is built up using the data from maps and bibliographic references. For the cartographic data the series of maps is used that has been published by the Istituto Geografico Militare Italiana, Carte Topografiche D´Italia with a scale of 1:25.000. These are the most detailled maps one can get for Italy. On these maps almost all existing nuraghi are explicitly marked, although there might be some margin of error. The maps have been printed in 1990 based on aerial photography and ground recognition in the years before the maps were published.
The data of these maps have been compared with the data that a number of members have published on the site of Wikimapia, with or without photographic material 1. The thus obtained geographic position is recorded together with the coordinates of the IGM maps.
In Google EarthTM the height is given for each point. This is used to give an approximate altitude of the nuraghe. The altitude in Google Earth is derived from the Mean Sea Level (MSL), the averaged sealevel of the earth 2.

It follows that the geographical position and the measured altitude are approximate, not exact. For an exact position and correct altitude one would ahve to make use of the GPS and a landsurvey, where the groundfloor surface in the middle of the central tower of the construction would have to be the checkpoint.

The naming convention is derived from the IGM maps. Where the name is not mentioned it has been derived from the name of the surrounding district or territory or if known a popular name. In Sardic names can be spelled differently, or different words may have been used that have the same significance. This makes a search on exact names more difficult. An example is the word for nuraghe itself that can be spelled as nurake or nuraxi. In bibliographic references the names can also be different from the ones mentioned on the maps. This can be caused by a different spelling, but also due to errors in reports, swapping of names or other. In those cases the name used in the bibliographic reference is placed in brackets behind the reference. If no name but only a reference number is give the number is reported in brackets.

The nuraghe id, identification number, is absolutely random and in order of addition to the database. Making use of modern database techniques it seemed too cumbersome to try to create a logical order in id numbers, as it is only an information-technological aid.

Municipality and province are modern indications based on the administrative subdivision of Italy and the Sardinian Regione, and serve no other purpose than to indicate the territorial appertenance. The boundaries of the municipalities is indicated on the maps of the IGM. The provinces have changed in 2006 when four new provinces were created.

On the map a distinction is made between the various types of nuraghi, just as this is done in the literature; the nuraghi with a corridor versus nuraghi with a tholos vaulted chamber, simple towers versus complex structures with two or more towers. On the map the archaic nuraghi with a corridor or different architecture are indicated as protonuraghe. The classic nuraghi with a chamber, mostly with a tholos vault, are indicated as single tower nuraghi while the complex structures of two or more towers or the combinations of protonuraghi with classic nuraghi are indicated as complex nuraghi. If the architecture is not clear and no determination could as yet be done the nuraghe is indicated as not defined or not determined.

Selection criteria

It is very well possible that nuraghi are indicated on the map that are not to be found anymore because they have been completely dismantled. Vice versa nuraghi may have been added to the map that were not marked on the maps of the IGM. Therefore some indication of the criteria used:

  • If a nuraghe is marked on the maps of the IGM the supposition is that this nuraghe does exist, unless it was clear from Wikimapia that this did not concern a nuraghe but some other monument, either a nuragic village or a sanctuary
  • If a nuraghe is marked on Wikimapia that is not present on the maps of the IGM, but there is convincing evidence this nuraghe exists I have added this nuraghe in the database. Only if convincing evidence is missing or the position could not be traced or verified I have left the nuraghe out for now
  • If from a nuraghe there is a bibliographic reference and an exact position, even if it is not marked on the maps of the IGM I have added it to the list
  • If there are bibliographic references of nuraghi that are not marked on the maps of the IGM, but no position or actual remains are known I have not added these to the list (see also the notes on the bibliographic references)

What can be identified as a Nuraghe? Basically a nuraghe will have to meet specific architectural criteria and it has to be datable to the bronze age or early iron age, the Sardinian nuragic age. Evidence comes from archaeological excavations or surveys in and around the nuraghe, by using obsidian hydratation and in some rare cases C14 dating techniques, or ceramic evidence. That is also the reason why bibliographic references are important to attest that a site or a territory has been subjected to research and archaeologists have identified the site as a nuragic building.

Statististical data

Statistical data on distribution by province or altitude or type can be found on the page Statistics on the Nuraghi.

Bibliographic references

The sources are subdivided in literature, websites, the Piano Urbanistico Comunale (development plan of the municipalities) and the PPR (Piano Peasaggistico Regionale, Regional development plan) of the Regione Sardegna.

Resources online

It is possible to connect to the existing nuraghi database for use of the data on a website. It is also possible to get the entire database in another format if it is needed for study, you can contact the webmaster on this. The Facebook provides a platform for questions and remarks.

There is a Nuraghe App for mobile devices (Android).


1 All nuraghi have a link to the coordinates on Wikimapia
2 On the Mean Sea Level see Wikipedia. On altitude in Google Earth see the Help of Google Earth

Last updated 28/08/2020

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