The Iron Age necropolis of Mont’e Prama revealed the torsos of two statues of boxers on Saturday, according to Italy’s culture ministry.
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini called the discovery at the archaeological site of Cabras in central-western Sardinia an “exceptional find” that should shed light on the ancient Mediterranean culture whose tombs and statuary have been slowly discovered since the 1970s.
The bare torsos and other fragments have been identified as boxers, due to a shield wrapping around their bodies, and are similar to two other sculptures unearthed a few meters away in 2014 and now on display at the museum local, the ministry said.
Archaeologists working on the southern part of the sprawling necropolis – first discovered in 1974 by local farmers – have also found the continuation of the site’s burial route on a north-south axis, along which have been found tombs dating from around 950 BC to 730 BC
While small and medium sized fragments are documented and recovered from the earth, “the two large and heavy blocks of torsos will need time to free themselves from the surrounding sediments and prepare for safe recovery,” said said the Ministry of Culture. superintendent for southern Sardinia, Monica Stochino.
The site is believed to be part of the Nuragic civilization that controlled the island of Sardinia for centuries from the Bronze Age. People erected mysterious stone towers called “nuraghe” which today dot the Sardinian countryside and whose original purpose remains unknown.
Thousands of fragments and major pieces of Mont’e Prama unearthed over the decades have so far been reassembled into around 20 statues, each over 2 meters (6.56ft) tall, which have been identified like warriors, archers or boxers.
Archaeologists still do not know precisely what the statues represent or what they were used for.
It’s also unclear where they were originally located before they were deliberately broken up in ancient times, according to researchers – who cannot agree on whether it was by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians or groups. warring nuragics themselves – and scattered above and near the tombs.