The Giants of Monte Prama are ancient stone sculptures created by the Nuragic civilization of Sardinia, Italy. Fragmented into numerous pieces, they were found by accident in March 1974, in farmland near Monte Prama, in the comune of Cabras, province of Oristano, in central-western Sardinia. The statues are carved in localsandstone and their height varies between 2 and 2.5 meters.
After four excavation campaigns carried out between 1975 and 1979, the roughly five thousand pieces recovered – including fifteen heads and twenty two torsos – were stored for thirty years in the repositories of theNational Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, while a few of the most important pieces were exhibited in the museum itself. Along with the statues, other sculptures recovered at the site included large models of nuraghebuildings and several baetylus sacred stones of the "oragiana type". This kind of baetylus is normally associated with one or more Giants' graves.
After the funds allocation of 2005 by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Sardinia Region, restoration is being carried out since 2007 until present at the Centro di restauro e conservazione dei beni culturaliof "Li Punti" (Sassari), coordinated by the Soprintendenza of cultural heritage for Sassari and Nuoro, together with the Soprintendenza of Cagliari and Oristano. At this location, twenty five statues, consisting of warriors, archers, boxers and nuraghe models, have been exhibited to the public at special events since 2009. The exhibition has become permanently accessible to the public since November 2011.
According to the most recent estimates, the fragments came from a total of forty four statues.
Now these mysterious figures are finally on an exhibition open to the public.
Depending on the different hypotheses, the dating of the Kolossoi – the name that archaeologist Giovanni Lilliugave to the statues – varies between the 11th and the 8th century BC. If this is further confirmed by archaeologists, they would be the most ancient anthropomorphic sculptures of the Mediterranean area, after theEgyptian statues, preceding the kouroi of ancient Greece.[dubious ]
The scholar David Ridgway on this unexpected archaeological discovery wrote:
... during the period under review (1974–1979), the Nuragic scene has been enlivened by one of the most remarkable discoveries made anywhere on Italian soil in the present century (20th century)...—David Ridgway, Archaeology in Sardinia and Etruria, 1974 – 1979. Archaeological Reports, 26 (1979 - 1980), pp 54-70,
while the archaeologist Miriam Scharf Balmuth said:
...a stunning archaeological development, perhaps the most extraordinary find of the century in the realm of art history ...—Joseph J. Basile, The Capestrano Warrior and Related Monuments of the Seventh to Fifth Centuries B.C, p 22.