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ANTAS (“Metalla”) Sardinia, Italy.

In SW Sardinia in the territory of Fluminimaggiore, to the N of Iglesias, on the Rio Antas. Surrounded by limestone quarries and lead and iron mines worked since antiquity, the site seems identifiable with Metalla on the Tibula-Sulcis road (It. Ant. 85; Ptol. 3.3.2.).

The most important monument has been completely uncovered. It is a Roman temple, datable in its final form to the beginning of the 3d c. A.D., oriented SE-NW and rectangular in plan. It is on a low podium and is entered by means of a flight of steps on the SE. On the exterior, large square blocks of limestone masonry are accurately worked and laid in perfectly regular courses. On the interior, enough remains of the upper level to permit reconstruction of its plan. The pronaos has four columns on the front and two on each side; the cella, in antis, has a limestone pavement covered by mosaic in white tesserae with a band of turquoise-colored tesserae delimiting a narrow quadrangular area in the center. The cella has two symmetrical lateral entrances reached by steps; large squared blocks constitute the foundation of pilasters built against the interior walls to support the roof beams. From the back wall of the cella open two smaller cellae. The architectural decoration includes Doric and Ionic capitals and carved antefixes and gutters with leonine heads. The temple was dedicated to Sardus Pater, who according to the literary sources was considered the son of Hercules and colonizer of the island to which his name was given. In an earlier phase the temple honored a Phoenician god sd, to whom, toward the end of the 6th c. or the beginning of the 5th c. B.C. was dedicated a sanctuary. The principal nucleus consists of an altar open to the sky, surrounded by a series of courtyards and a large external enclosure entered from the SE.

A few hundred meters to the SW of the temple are the ruins of a nuraghic village whose modest dwellings, circular in plan, were later reused by the Romans. Tombs from the Imperial age have been found in the locality called S. Marinedda. The limestone quarries that provided the stone for the temple are at the N extremity of the Antas valley on the slopes of Mount Conca S' Omu. A short distance from the quarries is a rectangular room where fragments of votive sculpture have been found. The material from the excavations is in the National Museum at Cagliari.


A. Lamarmora, Viaggio in Sardegna, II (ed. ital., 1927) 371f; E. Aquaro et al., Richerche puniche ad Antas, Ist. di Studi del Vicino Oriente (1969)PI.


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