Sardinia: important finding in the Sant’Antioco Punic necropolis

Sardinia archeology by Youssef Badri

The wooden sarcophagus of tomb no. 11

Tomb n. 11 in the Punic necropolis of Sant’Antioco has returned an important finding. This consists of a portion of wooden coffin with the lid carved in the form of a winged female figure. Inside the tomb, which can be dated between the second half of the fifth and the first half of the fourth century B.C., around fifteen graves have been found (fig. 1).

The sarcophagus is equipped with bronze handles and the sides are decorated with palmettos, plant motifs and astral bodies painted in red, blue and green; the top of the coffin preserves, carved in relief with traces of paint, the figure of a female character with a feathered dress (fig. 2) of which it retains the head, crowned with a decorated polos headdress red and light blue drop decoration, whose elegant features are underlined by red and black; a nezèm, a bronze ring, is placed in the nose (fig. 3).

The figure, although deteriorated, can still be seen: the right arm is lying along her side and ends with the hand gripping a scroll; her body is wrapped in a garment which is shaped like two folded wings and whose feathers are painted blue and green (fig. 4).

A similar figure can be found on the cover of a beautiful marble sarcophagus found in the necropolis of Santa Monica in Carthage (fig. 5), dating to the fourth century B.C., whilst there is another funerary relief in wood covered with gold foil, dating from the third century B.C., found in the necropolis of Kerkouane, an ancient Punic city located near Cape Bon in Tunisia.