Archeological Museum Ferruccio Barreca

Named after the archaeologist Ferruccio Barreca, it is located on the north side of the town of Sant'Antioco, in the archeological region of the Tophet: its modern project was launched in 1970 and completed definitely in January 2006. It houses, in chronological and thematic order, a rich collection of materials and artifacts from the oldest city in Sardinia (ancient Sulki, now Sant'Antioco), all pieces coming from the old inhabited area of the underground necropolis and Tophet. It covers hundreds of year of history, having a wide range of important remains from ancient cultures, from the Neolithic era, through "nuraghe" culture, Punic and Phoenician settlements to the latter period of the Roman Empire. It offers a unique study of those civilizations. The main part of the collection it's about the important urban settlement built on the eastern coasts of the island of Sant'Antioco at the beginning of the eighth century B.C., known by the name of Sulky, or Sulci. The Phoenician and Punic collection is of a rare beauty, including fine earthenware, perfume bottles and unique, gorgeous jewelry. In Phoenician and Punic-era the deceased were buried with their personal belongings: it is why the graves have been particularly rich. In rooms one and two there are two screens that show images relating to the Phoenician and Punic antiquities of Sardinia and Sant'Antioco. A 20 minutes video explains all the sites on the Island. In one niche of the museum, models of ancient ships of the Phoenician-Punic period are shown together with amphorae found in the area of the ancient harbour. The amphorae were used, by Punics and Romans, especially to transport grain, wine and olive oil. On display also two big statues representing lions: probably in the Punic period these statues may have located in front of the main Towngate, then transferred to the amphitheatre where they have been found during excavations, their faces smashed and broken. These statues were on show at Palazzo Grassi, Venice, in 1988, in a big exposition, "The Phoenician", together with nearly 1.000 objects assembled from more than 25 museums throughout the Mediterranean, where ongoing excavations have shed important new light on the history and cultural achievement of these ancient sea traders. Particularly interesting and precious, a beautiful mosaic of two panthers drinking from a large crater with wine, framed by vine leaves, a clear reference to Bacchus. The museum houses also a bronze statuette representing an archer wearing a short cuirass and a helmet decorate by long horns: this artwork, dating from the IX century b.C. is exceptionally beautiful, and has a hard history; it was stolen 50 years ago in Sant'Antioco, and it had finally come back, after long research and investigation, in 2009.

A huge area displays materials and votive steles from the nearby Tophet, an open-air sacred place; the steles were offered as a sign of gratitude for received favours from the deities. The image that is carved in the stones is usually a female figure between two pillars and the fronton of a temple. This figure is often depicted with her hands holding her breasts, as a fertility symbol. A few ones contain also inscriptions in Phoenician or Punic that express the gratitude of the person making the offer. The ceramics, made in yellow or red clay and sometimes decorated with a simple band, are mainly waterjugs and plates that contained the meals for the dead that served them in their journey to the other side. A number of cabinets are filled with amulets, made of glass or ivory, that have been found in the graves: scarabs and small figures of Egyptian Gods had the function to protect the deceased. The Tophet, dedicated to the Goddess of fertility Tanit, or Astarte, and probably also to Ba'al Hammon, the male divinity, during the Punic-era, was used for the funeral urns of stillborn infants of children who died very early. Carthage under the Phoenicians was accused by its adversaries of child sacrifice just in Tophet, but sceptics maintain that the bodies of children found in Tophets were merely the cremated remains of children who died naturally, representing a civic and religious institution. Very useful from an educational point of view is the reconstruction inside the museum which represents a section of the Tophet with its funeral urns.

Cooperative Archeotur ltd is running the place, with a team of graduates, skilled and passionate. The visit can be combined with outdoor Tophet, burial area. In front of it there is a large parking place. Worth it. Go to for more information and a virtual tour of this Museum.