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The Mysteries of the Coddu Vecchiu Tombs of Giants

The Mysteries of the Coddu Vecchiu Tombs of Giants

During the Bronze Age (3300 – 700 BC), the Nuragic civilization built what are known as the Tombs of Giants (Tomba dei Gigantic). These megalithic gallery graves were used by the Nuragic people as public tombs, for the burials of many individuals from these early societies. Massive in size and astonishing to view, the giants’ grave at Coddu Vecchiu in Sardinia is one example that represents a somewhat mysterious and intriguing part of human history – providing some general answers as to the burial rituals of ancient human civilizations, but also leaving many questions unanswered.

The Nuragic civilization constructed two distinct types of tombs. The “slab type” was constructed from giant stone slabs which were placed upright, and buried into the ground. The slabs were placed side by side in a long row. They are uniform in height except for the center slab, known as a central stele, which is taller than the other slabs. Rising up to 4 meters (13 feet) in height, the central stele stands far above the other slabs, and has a doorway carved into its center. It is also generally decorated with carved text and images for funeral or memorial purposes, with the top carved into a rounded arch. In another variation, the center slab blended more easily with the surrounding slabs. It contained no alterations form its original state, other than the addition of a doorway. Through the doorway in the stele is a rectangular tomb and a burial chamber that is 5 - 15 meters (16 – 49 feet) long and 1 - 2 meters (3 – 7 feet) high. When the tombs were first constructed, they were covered by a large mound of dirt.

Through the doorway of the stele is a large rectangular burial chamber

Through the doorway of the stele is a large rectangular burial chamber ( Wikimedia Commons )

The second type of giants’ tomb is the “block type.” Rather than giant slabs, the block type tombs were constructed of large, rectangular blocks. The tombs found at Coddu Vecchiu was the slab type variety, while the block-type tombs are found elsewhere.

While the name ‘Tomb of Giants’ (or Giants’ Grave) invokes images of the burial of giant human beings, the tombs actually have nothing to do with the burial of anyone other than regular sized people from the Nuragic civilization. According to some legends, giants were buried in these tombs, in large part due to the massive size of some of the stones used, some reaching as high as 100 feet tall. However, no evidence of giant-sized humans has been found at the site. The use of the word giant refers to the fact that these tombs were used as giant public burial chambers. Three hundred and twenty one of these graves have been discovered in Sardinia, Italy, including those found at Coddu Vecchiu.

While the tomb may look like the grave of a giant, only regular-sized human remains have been found there

While the tomb may look like the grave of a giant, only regular-sized human remains have been found there ( Wikimedia Commons )

The Giants’ Graves at Coddu Vecchiu remains mysterious because little is known about the ceremonies or rituals that occurred there, or the symbolism that was being invoked. It is believed that the doors in the tombs were used to facilitate passage into the afterlife. These doorways served as the barrier between the physical world and the afterlife. Mourners and others would leave offerings at the entrance to the tombs.

There has been some speculation that the sites are the location of powerful sources of natural energy, and that they were chosen as burial locations for that reason. It is said that channels of “telluric energies and magnetic forces” are found at the Giants’ Graves, and that the Nuragic people knew of these forces and intended to use them for burial purpose. The positive energy emanating from the area was believed to provide a “supernatural” rejuvenation, and it was believed that such positive energy would allow the deceased an easier and more positive entry into the afterlife. The slabs were arranged in a semi-circular position, and it was believed that this shape was in alignment with telluric energy lines, and that the energy would be captured in each individual slab. This energy would then gather, all leading to the central slab, with the central slab absorbing a great deal of energy. The sick and injured would lie on the stones hoping to be healed. The energy would also benefit the dead, as it was believed that it helped to separate their soul from their physical body.

The doorway of the central stele was believed to be the barrier between the physical world and the afterlife

The doorway of the central stele was believed to be the barrier between the physical world and the afterlife  ( Wikimedia Commons )

The Giants’ Graves may provide us with more questions than answers. While they give an interesting insight into the burial rituals of ancient civilizations, they do not provide much information beyond the physical structure of the tombs, and the fact that they were used for burial purposes. With religious and spiritual beliefs being far different during ancient times than they are today, it is likely that ancient burial rituals were very different to what we currently know today. There was likely much focus on safely making it to the afterlife, and ensuring a smooth transition from a physical presence on Earth, to a spiritual presence beyond Earth, and possibly a reincarnation into a new life. The Giants’ Graves illustrate an early form of public tomb, where large numbers of people would be buried. Unlike tombs that were created for nobles or high figures in society, largely utilized public tombs can give a greater insight as to the culture and traditions of the vast majority of people from ancient civilizations.

Sources

Giants’ Grave – Wikipedia. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giants%27_grave

The Giants’ Grave of Coddu Vecchiu – Atlas Obscura. Available from: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-giants-grave-of-coddu-vecchiu

Coddu Vecchiu – Mysterious Places. Available from: http://www.mysteriousplaces.it/sardegna/codduvecchiu.html

Coddu Vecchiu – Stone Pages. Available from: http://www.stonepages.com/italia/codduvecchiu.html

By M R Reese

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ancient-origins's picture

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"the tombs actually have nothing to do with the burial of anyone other than regular sized people from the Nuragic civilization"

Just wondering if you have ever visited Sardinia. If so, you will learn much by getting to know local people outside the regular guided tours. You will learn that the Catholic church has been involved for generations of removing the skeletons found in the graves and have built churches over many other graves. It is illegal to dig down over two meters before you are arrested if found doing so.

If you have solid evidence that only "regular" sized people (i.e.pictures) have been discovered in these graves, please provide. However, no pictures provided by the Catholic church will be acceptable.

Tsurugi's picture

Very interesting.

IMO there is a better-than-even chance the remains found inside these structures were intrusive burials. They remind me of the megalithic Chullpa towers of the Peruvian highlands, which were found to be filled with remains of indigenous peoples from the area. Thing is, these "burial towers" don't have entrances, so the natives had to enter them from the top.
To do this they constructed ramps made from stone....ramps which are quite obviously not made to anything even approaching the level of skill and sophistication of the towers themselves. The towers are dry-laid, heterogeneous convex-polygonal masonry with high-relief carvings. The ramps are a loose aggregate of gravel, piled against the side of the tower until its top could be reached. The difference is clear.....the skilled masons who constructed those towers had no hand in building the ramps. The ramps were a later addition, by a people who decided to use the towers as tombs. Intrusive burials.

That opens up the questions of who were the original builders, when exactly did they build the towers, and why did they build so many all over Peru? They weren't tombs, so what were they for? What can you do with a building that has no entrance....?

But those questions lead one down lines of thought that are academically unpopular and politically incorrect, which is why if you Google "chullpas" you will see them described as "funerary towers of the ancestors of the local Aymara people."

I doubt the Aymara would agree with that statement. They probably would say they buried their people in the towers because they were sacred places, built by the old gods.

I dont believe what redroksaz wrote that Roman catholic church is removing bones ... Because if they found giant bones is something good for them, because it is in line with Bible.
For example, i am christian, and it will be good to find giant human bones, why not, it is not something that needs to be hiden.

It is for everyone to see, not to hide.

It will be more obvious that it is hidden by some other organization.

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