Domus de Janas

Entrance of the domus de janas of Genna Salixi, Ruinas.

Domus de Janas (Sardinian: "House of the Fairies" or of the "Witches") are a type of pre-Nuragic chamber tombs found in Sardinia. They consist of several chambers quarried out by the people of the San Ciriaco through Ozieri cultures[1] and subsequent cultures, resembling houses in their layout.

Interior of one of the domus de janas of Sant'Andrea Priu, Bonorva.

Built mostly between 3400 and 2700 BC, they date to the late Neolithic, Chalcolithic and early Bronze Age. A necropolis of them at the site of Anghelu Ruju, near Alghero, consists of 38 tombs. Other large sites are those of Montessu, near Villaperuccio, and of Sant'Andrea Priu at Bonorva. Many other domus de janas can be found throughout the island, with the excpetion of Gallura (where the deceased were usually buried in megalithic circles, such as that those of Li Muri).

The shape of the internal chambers can vary from that of a rounded hut with conical or triangular ceiling. The walls are often decorated with reliefs or etchings depicting magical and religious symbols such as spirals, zig-zag motifs and bull's horns.[2]

The corpses, painted with red ochre like the tomb's walls, were buried together with common life objects, jewels and tools. According to archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu, they were buried under shells of molluscs; according to other theories, they were left outside the tomb, being put inside only after they had reduced to a skeleton.

See also


  1. Domus de Janas, Portale Sardo


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