There was a time when the coasts of Sardinia were a territory of discovery and conquest. The waters of the Mediterranean were the setting for navigation and combat, and the ports welcomed the peoples who came from the sea. We're talking about the Nuragic era, in the late Bronze Age, a period still today shrouded in mystery and which archaeologists and historians continue to investigate.
Sardinia stood out for its meticulous processing of metals, which has sparked many modern finds. There are, however, no documents capable of telling us how the Nuragic population developed these skills, or how they were able to select their raw materials. Nor what technologies were used for extraction, or how the primary processing of the metal took place. What we do know, is that there were numerous copper mines which, mixed with tin, gave rise to one of the materials most often employed for the creation of metal artefacts: bronze.
This was the alloy used to forge the miniature ships found inside nuraghi and now exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Cagliari. All different, they were most certainly forged by people who knew navigation: they are characterised by the presence of a central mast which indicates the use of sails, and by high bulwarks, suitable for defence in wars at sea. They also had a symbolic value: the bow develops into a figurehead in the shape of the torso and head of an animal, such as a deer or ram. The engraved drawings depict men wearing helmets, armour and a skirt, with a shield always present together with daggers, spears and swords, indicating their nature - perhaps profession - as warriors.