Roccia dell'Elefante (Elephant's Rock) – Castelsardo, Italy - Atlas Obscura

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Roccia dell'Elefante (Elephant's Rock)

Castelsardo, Italy

This weird, elephant-shaped rock also hosts two ancient tombs. 


Roccia dell’Elefante (Elephant’s Rock) is a large, 13 foot (four meter) tall, boulder made of andesite and trachyte, which has been eroded by atmospheric agents into a shape that closely resembles an elephant. It’s located along the SS 134 road in Sardinia, Italy, just south of the town of Castelsardo.

Already notable for its weird shape, the rock is also an important archaeological site as two ancient tombs are located inside the boulder. The two tombs are an example of “Domus de Janas” (House of the Fairies), a type of chamber tomb only found in Sardinia and dating back to the pre-Nuragic period of the island. It was constructed between 3400 BCE and 2700 BCE.

The higher of the two tombs is the oldest and is mostly bare rock, having lost almost all decorations. The lower, newer, tomb is well preserved and features a bovine painting and some sculptures. These advanced techniques suggest that the tomb was built during the first half of the 3rd millennium BCE. Both tombs are only accessible through very narrow tunnels at the base of the rock.

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