Sanctuaries and the Emergence of Elites in Nuragic Sardinia during the Early Iron Age (ca. 950–720 bc)
The Actualization of a ‘Ritual Strategy’
Keywords:Sardinia, Nuragic, sanctuaries, ritual, Early Iron Age
During the Early Iron Age (ca. 950–720 bc) Nuragic Sardinia experienced the rise of monumental public sanctuaries. This study addresses the formation of the votive record in sanctuaries in order to explore the relationship between socio-economic control and the ritual dynamics of legitimation of authority. In Nuragic sanctuaries, large amounts of wealth were collected in the form of significant accumulations of bronze objects. The accumulation of metal objects in sanctuaries probably reflects a model of elite-controlled wealth redistribution. It is argued that the rise of sanctuaries is part of a planned ‘ritual strategy’, put in action by Nuragic elites, in order to pursue ideological legitimation to their claims for hegemony. The subject is set within a proposal of a general redefinition of the Nuragic Early Iron Age, making it possible to propose a contextualization of the local phenomenon within the contemporary western Mediterranean framework.
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