The Bonnanaro culture had been described by scholars as the Sardinian regionalization of the pan-European Bell Beaker culture, with some influences from the Polada culture of northern Italy. Starting from the late Copper Age, the island was settled by people who came probably by sea from Spain, southern France (early Beaker phase) and Central Europe (late Beaker phase) in various small waves. Polada culture influences, regarding ceramics in particular, are especially strong in the early Bonnanaro phase (or Bonnanaro A1).
Bonnanaro finds have been unearthed in over 70 sites, scattered throughout Sardinian territory, with a higher concentration in the mining regions of Nurra and Sulcis-Iglesiente and in the Campidano. Ceramics were smooth and linear without decorations and characterized by handles. Metal objects increased and the first swords of arsenical bronze appeared.
It is still uncertain whether the first "protonuraghi" or "pseudonuraghi" were built at this time, or in the successive Sub-Bonnanaro culture (or Bonnanaro B) of the middle bronze age (1600-1330 BC). The Proto-Nuraghi were megalithic edifices which are considered the precursors of the future Nuraghi. They are horizontal buildings characterized by a long corridor with rooms and cells, and represent an attempt to fortify the more traditional huts in a period where tribal clashes, due to the introduction of the first sophisticated weapons, were becoming increasingly common.
About 200 human skeletons of the period show that the Bonnanaro population was composed mainly of dolicochepalic individuals (87%) with a minority of brachycephalics (13%), the latter concentrated in the north-western portion of the island, and probably derived from the Bell Beaker bringers. The average height was 1,66 m for men and 1,50 m for women. The Bonnanaro population suffered from osteoporosis, hyperostosis, anemia, caries and tumors. Cranial trepannation was practiced.
- Giovanni Lilliu - La civiltà nuragica , A cura di Alberto Moravetti - pg.25-26-27-28
- Fulvia Lo Schiavo -L'Italia preromana. Sardegna (2004)(Italian)
- L'Umana Avventura pg.7 (Italian)