An Imperial Age Square Revealed from Recent Excavations in Nora

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An architectural marvel from the middle imperial era has been unearthed during the latest archaeological expedition in Nora, an ancient city on the peninsula that marks the southwestern boundary of the Gulf of Cagliari. This historical place originated near the earlier nuragic settlements, subsequently flourishing during the Phoenician-Punic and Roman times.

Historically, Nora was nestled near the remnants of earlier nuragic settlements, and it flourished further during the Phoenician-Punic and Roman epochs.

The square showcases an elegant use of local purple andesite basalt stones in its construction. Among its highlights are two ornate fountains, one being a unique circular entity with a balustrade and central protrusion. Such intricate design could likely be the work of a notable local individual or possibly an emperor.


This notable discovery deepens our grasp of the past of this part of Sardinia, a region heavily steeped in history. The site of Nora, once a prominent hub of economic and political activity, occupies a position of strategic worth along the seafront. Initial archaeological efforts centred on the region of Tanit Hill led to the unearthing of a part of a Roman-era residential and artisan quarter. As the scope of research expanded, the grand square was revealed. The surrounding structures on the square’s western periphery bear testament to a vibrant past brimming with artisanal and commercial activities.

Evidence of a busy past is further reinforced with the discovery of fragments of cooking pots and a terracotta griddle linked to a kiln, suggesting that these spaces might have been bustling with activities related to bread-making and the handling of local produce. The University of Padua has endeavoured to offer visitors an immersive experience by creating lifelike 3D renderings of these spaces, including the architecture, colours and finer details. Starting from July 15, history enthusiasts can embark on a virtual tour of the ancient city of Nora via a VR headset, available upon pre-booking online:

This initiative was made possible through the leadership of Mayor Walter Cabasino and the broad-based Pula Culture Foundation. As explained by Augusto Porceddi, the Foundation’s Vice President, this achievement is the fruit of a decade-long collaboration involving the universities of Cagliari, Genova, Milano, and Padova, the Superintendency of Cagliari, and the support from the municipal authorities and the Foundation. The project was managed by professors Marco Giuman and Romina Carboni, both experts in classical archaeology, and recently joined by a group specialising in Christian and medieval archaeology led by Rossana Martorelli. The project has allowed hundreds of students from various universities to participate in this exciting excavation work.


Topics: Nora’s Historical Revelations, Middle Imperial Age Square in Nora, Archaeological Discoveries in Ancient Rome, Nora’s Imperial Age Square, Recent Excavations in Sardinia, History Unearthed in Nora

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