Megalithic tomb in Corsica
The islands of the western Mediterranean were a refuge for peoples whose cultures had struggled for footing in the mainland. They are rich in archaeological treasures for the Neolithic, Copper, and Bronze Ages, including megalithic temples in Malta, the nuraghes of Sardinia, and sanctuaries and cult sites on Corsica. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusader knights, and Turks, among others, fought over these islands, ruled them, and also left behind monoliths, monuments, tombs, and temples.
Archaeologist Robert R. Stieglitz, a specialist in ancient maritime interconnections, explores the cultural legacies of little-known prehistoric islanders through their remarkable architectural and artistic creations.
9:30–10:45 a.m. Megalithic Monuments
The prehistoric megalith builders on Sardinia and Corsica erected portal tombs, standing stones (singly as monoliths and in astronomical alignments), elaborate stone circles, and rock-cut chamber tombs.
11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. The Mysterious Temples of Malta and Gozo
Remains of more than 20 temple complexes and 2 subterranean rock-cut communal burial grounds have been found on these small islands. Folklore holds that giants built some of the temples for a fertility cult on Gozo.
12:15–1:30 p.m. Lunch (participants provide their own)
1:30–2:45 p.m. Nuraghe Civilization on Sardinia and Corsica
Sardinia has thousands of nuraghe sites, large towers constructed with superimposed vaulted chambers and elaborate fortifications that evoke the cyclopean architecture of Mycenaean Greece. There are also impressive gallery graves known as Giants’ Tombs, and remarkable sacred wells. Recently, numerous larger than life-size stone sculptures of nuraghe warriors have been discovered on Sardinia.
3–4:15 p.m. Phoenicians and Carthaginians in Sardinia
The Phoenician-Punic settlements on Sardinia included harbors, mining towns, and inland estates. The remains offer unique evidence of commercial and religious life, including clues to a controversial funeral rite.
Stieglitz, an emeritus professor at Rutgers University who has excavated at harbors in Greece and Israel, leads archaeological tours in the eastern and western Mediterranean.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit
S. Dillon Ripley Center
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Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)