The Graves of the Giants are characteristic gravestones of the nuragic civilization, a civilization born in Sardinia around the second millennium b.C. and prolonged up to the II century. This people have left numerous architectural works among which there are the Graves of the Giants, so called by the popular imagination because of their gigantic dimensions, these were instead gravestones, a sort of gigantic grave of the village, not a real or princely grave as can be thought not even graves for giants. They were collective graves that could contain up to 200 corpses.
The Giants' graves in Scano Montiferro are respectively 5 in the following places:
Su crastu iscrittu
The last one is the most accessible and better preserved in comparison to the others. (see gallery)
They are composed of a long funeral room covered by plates of stone horizontally prepared. Naturally the used stone is the basalt, that is easy to be recovered in the territory. Often in front of the fašade of the giant's grave is present a small menhir, called betile. The betilis, phallic symbols of fertility, are similar to small cones of stone on which are sometimes graven small breasts or two eyes: the betilis mammellaris symbolize the union of the masculine divinity and the female one to relight the life of the dead ones, the betilis with eyes represent some protection divinity of the dead ones.
The cult of the corpses is founded on the divine couple Goddess mother - God Bull, the first one was the divinity of the life while the second was the protecting divinity of the corpses, for this reason the form of the graves, the fašade united to the half circle of the corridor, had a bull-like aspect.
Besides along the semicircle, to the outside, there are some seats in stone on which the inhabitants of the villages slept for communicating with the corpses through the dreams: this experience was the practice of the incubation (from the Latin “incubo” that means “sleep”).
This graves represented the contact point of the alive ones with the ancestors. The dead persons were deposed through a secondary rite, for the porthole, in the long sepulchral room covered by the tumulus. It is believed that these graves were not opened at the death of every component of the village but on the contrary it needed to reach a certain number before deciding to begin the ritual.
Aristotle hands down the rites “incubatori” and propitiatory practised by the Sardinians, that lasted long days, with the purpose to recover the mental health, to have premonitions for the important decisions or for the progress of the clan.