"Museo dei dolmen" (Dolmen Museum) is a virtual museum of Mediterranean and Western Europe prehistory and early history, set up and directed by Federico Bardanzellu.

Dolmen Museum



Prehistory and Early History of the Mediterranean and Western Europe



Fonte foto: Livornopress

In the Bronze Age, there is a transformation of the tipology of the dolmens, first to allÚe couverte (megaliths and vertical slab covered with a mound of earth and smaller stones, sometimes bounded in its circle by one or more circles stones), then to  the nuragic "Giant Tombs".
Gallura's dolmens are reflected in slightly more recent examples of Southern Corsica, as well as in Basque, Catalonia, France or Menorca.


In examining the structures of Southern Corsican dolmens, the scholars Edoardo Proverbio and Pino Calledda have provided some assumptions about their orientation and, taking into account not only their azimuth, but declination too, associated with the direction of the dolmens, they have mostly attributed them a  stellar "target". The writer is allowed to develop a table of these measurements, deducing them from what the scholars report in: "Rivista Italiana di archeoastronomia", Roma 2004.

Determination of the azimuth of a star (73k .pdf)
Determination of the height of a star (53k .pdf)
Declination of a star (48k .pdf)



Astral alignments correspondence of Southern Corsican dolmens

Name Site
Astral Target
Renaggiu Sartene
1500 B.C.
- 0░,4
Fontanaccia Sartene
1500-1800 B.C.
- 25░,0
Winter solstice sunrice
.. Petreto Bicchisano
1500 B.C.
- 21░
Major southern lunar solstice sunrise
Ciutulaghia Appietto
2300 B.C.
- 39░,3

Alpha Centauri

.. Olmeto
2100 B.C.
- 40░,3
Alpha Centauri
Cruci I Levie
1400 B.C.
- 44░,6
Alpha Crucis
Cardiccia Sartene
2800 B.C.
- 44░,6
Alpha Muscae
Bizzicu Rosu Grossa
2200 B.C.
- 46░,4
Alpha Muscae
M.te Rotondu Sotta
2500 B.C.
- 45░,7
Alpha Muscae
Cruci II Levie
1800 B.C.
- 43░,1
Alpha Crucis
Arghiola Sartene
2700 B.C.
- 34░,1
Beta Crucis

However, some perplexities issue by an examination of the above solutions,  concerning 5-6 degrees deviations compared to the azimuth of the solstice and the exact lunistice. Regarding the target connected to the star Alpha Muscae which, even in Neolithic and Copper Age, does not seem to have been a particular visibility in the night sky; so you might assume a unified approach to the stellar group Centaurus/ Crux/ Musca, bet on the latter, which is the southern spur.

The attempt of the scholars to apply the same target to the Sardinian dolmens seems less convincing, although now we can deny no longer that southern Corsica and northern Sardinia, prenuragic age, were part of one megalithic culture. However, some stellar or lunar targets are evident in some dolmens of north Sardinia. Calledda and Proverbio, in 1995, have observed dolmen Sa Coveccada (2500 BC) Mores, and measured azimuth 123.8 ░, substantially, the azimuth of  winter solstice sunrise.

The other measurements made by the same scholars on the Sardinian dolmens, did not give  equally sure answers, but a generic consideration that 85% of examined dolmens are oriented towards South and South-East. Again we allowed ourselves to develop a table of the orientations of Sardinian dolmens,  deducing them from here as well as the authors report in "Rivista Italiana di archeoastronomia", Roma 2004.

Astral alignments correspondence of Sardinian dolmens

Name Site
Astral target
Sa Coveccada Mores
2500 B.C.
Winter solstice sunrise
Montju Corona Ozieri
Su Pedrighinosu Nughedu S. Nicol˛
2225 B.C.
Rigel (Orion)
Su Laccu Buddus˛
2400/1300 B.C.
Alpha Muscae (2400)
Alpha Crucis (1300)
Orunita Buddus˛
2.650 B.C.
Beta Andromeda
El Comis Buddus˛
2100 B.C.
Alpha Muscae
Abealzos Berchidda
Ladas Luras
2800 B.C.
Alpha Muscae
Ciuledda Luras
3100 B.C.
Rigel (Orion)
Alzoledda Luras
2825/2425 B.C.
Alpha Crucis (2825)
Rigil Kent (2425)
Bilella Luras
Li Muri (Cista I) Arzachena
Li Muri (Cista II) Arzachena
Li Muri (Cista III) Arzachena
Li Muri (Cista IV) Arzachena

In pottery Neolithic, the burial of the members of one clan was probably geared towards the star or constellation that was thought as totemic or protector, to a possible rebirth (even today there is the saying "born under a lucky star").

Marcel Moreau, in Les civilizations des Etoiles has an interesting explanation of this phenomenon: "The prehistoric men hooked up some stellar groups with imaginary lines, drawing in the sky some approximate figures of men and animals, easily recognizable. For orientation, it was only necessary the indication of the brighter star of a constellation. So they said: The Eye of Taurus, Virgo's Spica, Vega of Lyra etc. (Moreau, 1973, 27)".

All these groups of stars, ideally linked together, in fact, are indicated (probably in the same way of the prehistoric times) with the name of an animal (ex: Bear, Taurus, Aries, etc.), or some human figures or, in some cases, with some zoomorphized figures (Sagittarius, Capricorn, etc..). This could have led to the identification of a clan, a tribe, or even of their ancestors, with their hero or animal identified in the heavenly constellation of reference. The religious ceremonies celebrated on regular basis, inside this megalithic buildings, should therefore be similar to many rituals that still are existing among primitive peoples.

"That 's what - continues Moreau - it's called getting into the skin of another, or under a protective mask, to be more powerful. It's the origin of all the mythic skins and totemic masks. It's the introduction of a human being in the skin of a celestial animal, then a totem animal".


Credits - Text by  Federico Bardanzellu 2011   facebook