Domus de Janas

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Domus de Janas of Ittiri.

Domus de Janas (Sardinian: "House of the Fairies" or of the "Witches") are a type of pre-historic chamber tombs found in Sardinia. They consist of several chambers quarried out by the Ozieri and Beaker cultures, resembling houses in their layout.

Built between 3400 and 2700 BC, more than 1000 of the rock-cut tombs are known on the island. They date to the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age. A necropolis of them at the site of Anghelu Ruju, near Alghero, consists of 38 tombs some carved with bulls' heads. Another large site is that of Sant'Andrea Priu at Bonorva, including 18 chambers: during the late Roman and Byzantine dominations it was turned into a cave church. Other sites can be found at Pimentel, Sedini, Villaperuccio, Ittiri and Porto Torres.

The shape of grottoes can vary from that of a rounded hut with conical or triangular ceiling. The walls are often decorated with magical reliefs. The corpses, painted with red ochre like the tomb's walls, were buried together with common life objects, jewels and tools. According to archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu, they were buried under shells of molluscs; according to other theories, they were left outside the tomb, being put inside only after they had reduced to a skeleton.

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