The megalithic complex of Monte Baranta in Sardinia: a pilgrimage center of the early Bronze Age?
It is the imposing megalithic complex located on the Monte Baranta plateau, near the town of Olmedo.
So motivated, we have subjected the Monte Baranta complex to a new survey with the specific aim of gaining a better understanding of its function.
The Monte Baranta complex is located on the southern flanks of the homonym plateau, a top-flat hill that runs roughly in a north-south direction between Monte Rosso and Monte Miale Ispina.
The interpretation of the Monte Baranta complex which is commonly accepted is based on the fact that the "village" is enclosed between the megalithic wall and the ridge of the plateau.
Some sites in Sardinia are also known to be quite similar to Monte Baranta in that they are conceived as walls "cutting" the summits of hills to create enclosures (e.
Finally, particularly relevant for the present paper is a similar re-assessment which, as mentioned in the introduction, has been carried out for enclosures dated to the same period of Monte Baranta in the Iberian Peninsula, such as Castelo Velho in Portugal.
Taking into account such a framework, we have re-analysed the Monte Baranta complex focusing our attention on those elements which went almost unnoticed in previous surveys and clearly conflict with the "stronghold" interpretation (in the final section, we will try to investigate in which direction they actually point).
A key element in the surrounding landscape of Monte Baranta is the hill called Santu Pedru.
The hill lies about 1 km to the south-east of Monte Baranta and forms a sort of scenery foreground for the horizon in that direction (Figure 5).
The analysis of the sacred area of Monte Baranta immediately raises other enigmatic questions, the first being, of course, the very fact that it is located outside the fortification, and therefore easily accessible to enemies which -- presumably would have devastated it.
In our opinion, the data presented here point to a rebuttal of the "defensive stronghold" hypothesis at Monte Baranta.