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Archaeological Survey

  • Italy
  • Sardinia
  • Province of Oristano
  • San Vero Milis


  • Progetto S’Urachi is a multi-national collaboration focused on understanding daily life around the monumental Bronze Age tower of S’Urachi (San Vero Milis, Oristano, Sardinia) in the Phoenician, Punic, and Roman periods. The project is a collaboration with Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for the Ancient World and Museo Civico di San Vero Milis. The site-based survey of the nuraghe S’Urachi and the adjoining site of Su Padrigheddu was a sub-project of the Progetto S’Urachi carried out from 2014 to 2017. Over the course of four seasons, the areas immediately to the east and north of the tower were assessed through micro-topographical analyses, systematic sub-surface sampling, geophysical prospection, and finally with test pit operations to ground truth our collected data. Our first season (2014) focused on the creation of a high resolution digital elevation model alongside geophysical prospection of the area. The following season (2015) saw the intensive collection of sub-surface remains using arbitrary grid-points as collection nodes, digging approximately 10 cm below the top soil to remove ground vegetation and expose archaeological materials. During the 2016-2017 seasons, we excavated a series of test trenches to ground-truth the results of our geophysical survey and surface survey in areas of potential interest. The aim of the survey was to explore the chronology and spatial patterning of settlement and ancient land use at the nuraghe S’Urachi and the nearby site of Su Padrigheddu by employing multiple survey methods in the wider landscape surrounding of these archaeological sites. The survey was set up to contextualize and complement the results of the open excavations of the deep-stratigraphy surrounding the Nuragic tower, which have been simultaneously being carried out by the Progetto S’Urachi since 2013. Our primarily chronological focus was the first millennium B.C.E., a time of intense commerce and colonial interchanges between the local Nuragic people, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and the Romans. As a full-collection, diachronic survey, the project also uncovered evidence for the long-term use of the site both before and after the period of research in the first millennium B.C.E. Specifically, materials dating to the Late Bronze Age, as well as later Roman, Medieval and modern periods attest to the various uses of the site from prehistory to the present day. In sum, the site-based survey revealed information on spatial and temporal patterns of site use over a 3500 year span.

Project Dates

  • 2014 - 2017


  • No period data has been added yet
  • 2300 BC
  • 1400 BC
  • 1900 AD

Survey Method

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Research Focus

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Other Comments

  • Progetto S’Urachi Site-Based Survey aims to understand settlement patterns and land use in the immediate vicinity of the nuraghe S’Urachi and the adjoining site of Su Padrigheddu during the 1st millennium B.C.E. Our diachronic survey also uncovered evidence for site use from the 2nd millennium BCE to the present day.

Funding Body

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  • Brown University, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World; Comune di San Vero Milis.

Research Institution

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  • Brown University


  • Director
    • Linda Gosner, Alexander Smith, Jessica Nowlin, Peter van Dommelen, Alfonso Stiglitz


    • Linda R. Gosner – Alexander J. Smith. 2018. Landscape Use and Local Settlement at the Nuraghe S’Urachi (West-Central Sardinia): Results from the First Two Seasons of Site Survey (2014-2015). FOLD&R Archaeological Survey: 7.
    • PDF permalink
    • Linda R. Gosner – Jessica Nowlin – Alexander J. Smith. 2021. Ground-truthing the Site-based Survey at S’Urachi and Su Padrigheddu (West-Central Sardinia): Results of the 2016 and 2017 Seasons. FOLD&R Archaeological Survey: 15.
    • PDF permalink