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  • Biddanoa
  • Siligo
  • Villanova Montesanto, Villanoa de Monte Santu, Villanueva de Monte Santo
  • Italy
  • Sardinia
  • Provincia di Sassari
  • Siligo



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Summary (English)

  • The excavations uncovered evidence supporting the theory that the site is the abandoned post-medieval village of Villanova Montesanto.

    This hypothesis had been formulated based on:
    1. the majority of the pottery found on the surface appeared datable to the 16th-17th century;
    2. the written sources, which identified this phase of the early modern period as the time in which the village, abandoned by 1655, was at the height of its expansion;
    3. the presence on the site of the church of San Vincenzo and the existence in the oral memory of the nearby community of Siligo of the village of Biddanoa;
    4. the geomagnetic surveys which suggested the presence of a large area of buried structures.

    The find of large domestic rubbish dumps datable to between the 15th century and the mid 17th century provided further evidence for the identification of the site as the village. Based on recently discovered written sources it is thought that the village of Villanova Montesanto (or of Villanueva MonctiSanti) covered, at least in the 16th-17th century, an area of 1 starello (4.000 m2), with 23 houses (hearths) censured in 1627. However, the spatial organisation can only be hypothesised at present.

    The grouping of the middens suggests that the dwellings were situated in the areas above, in particular on a low rise opposite the small terrace on which the church of San Vincenzo Ferrer stands. Close by, at the same level, changes in the height of the terrain seem to indicate the presence of the residential area.

    Although a Punic bronze coin of the Kore / horse facing right (375/60-340/25 ? B.C.) type was found in secondary deposition, and at present is the only dating element for this chronological phase, the coins from the site cover a chronological range previously unknown in Sardinian excavations. The sequence is as follows: James I of Aragon (1213-1276) (probably residual); Alphonse V of Aragon (1416-1458); John II of Aragon (1458-1479); Ferdinand II of Aragon (1479-1516); Emperor Charles V (1520-1556); Philip II of Spain (1556-1598); Philip III of Spain (1598-1621).

    This numismatic series (from Alphonse V to Philip III) and the presence of pottery markers ranging from Italo-Moresque maiolica from the Val d’Arno, early to late 15th century, to majolica from Montelupo, circa 1480 to the beginning of the 1600s, to Spanish maiolica in blue and luster or only luster dating to the 15th to 17th century, to Ligurian productions (majolica with berettino enamel, monochrome graffito wares) and majolica from Sassari (late 16th-beginning of the 17th century), provide an archaeological chronology for the abandoned village which can now be compared with that given by the written sources.

    The excavation showed that a substantial part of the anomalies picked up by the geophysical surveys and interpreted as structures are prehistoric and, at least in one case, datable to the Final Bronze Age-Early Iron Age. Evidence of even earlier structures, attributable to at least the Recent Bronze Age, was also recorded.

    Evidence of a cult area was also found in the nuragic settlement, constituted by a fragment of votive sword and a bronze anchor-shaped pendant, small pyriform jugs and other elements. These could however relate to the nuragic sanctuary situated on the summit of the overlooking Monte Pelao.

  • Marco Milanese - Università degli Studi di Sassari 


  • Marco Milanese - Università degli Studi di Sassari


  • Luisanna Usai - Soprintendenza per i Beni archeologici di Sassari e Nuoro
  • Agostino Pivello
  • Annarita Becciu
  • Antonella Bonetto
  • Antonella Fois
  • Manuela Simbula
  • Martina Zipoli
  • Matteo Pipia
  • Mauro Fiori - Università di Sassari
  • Marco Milanese - Università degli Studi di Sassari
  • Alessandra Deiana
  • Emanuela Sias
  • Gianluigi Marras
  • Giuseppe Padua
  • Maria Cherchi
  • Maria Chiara Deriu

Research Body

  • Università degli studi di Sassari, Dipartimento di Storia (Cattedra di Archeologia Medievale)

Funding Body

  • Comune di Siligo


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