Monte d’Accoddi, Sardinia
Monte d’Accoddi is a Neolithic site in northern Sardinia, located in the territory of Sassari near Porto Torres. The site consists of a massive raised stone platform thought to have been an altar. It was constructed by the Ozieri culture or earlier, with the oldest parts dated to around 4,000 to 3,650 BC. No chambers or entrances to the mound have been found, leading to the presumption it was an altar, a temple or a step pyramid. It may have also served an observational function, as its square plan is coordinated with the cardinal points of the compass.
The initial Ozieri structure was abandoned or destroyed around 3000 BC, with traces of fire found in the archeological evidence. Around 2800 BC the remains of the original structure were completely covered with a layered mixture of earth and stone, and large blocks of limestone were then applied to establish a second platform, truncated by a step pyramid, accessible by means of a second ramp built over the older one. This second temple resembles contemporary Mesopotamian ziggurats, and is attributed to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture. Archeological excavations from the chalcolithic Abealzu-Filigosa layers indicate the Monte d’Accoddi was used for animal sacrifice, with the remains of sheep, cattle, and swine recovered in near equal proportions. It is among the earliest known sacrificial sites in Western Europe, providing insight into the development of ritual in prehistoric society. The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BC, at the onset of the Nuragic age.