18 - Bodies, Tombs, and Processional Paths: Mobility as a Cultural and Sensory Practice in the Punic Monte Sirai (Sardinia, Italy)


Sara Mura, Kiel University


Movement is not a mere transportation of bodies and objects. Movement is a manifest quality of space and is capable of triggering and enhancing the affective properties of the built environment (architecture and artifacts) on human bodies. In the study of Punic funerary landscapes, the study of movement and possible processional routes is highly problematic due to the lack of primary textual sources written by those who experienced them, as well as visible material traces within the archaeological record. Whereas forms of architecture associated with the necropolis attest to the repeated occurrence of a procession, physical features do not attest to its actual composition or spatial route.

Developed as part of my PhD research, this poster presents the preliminary results of the multidisciplinary research I conducted at Monte Sirai (Sardinia, Italy) by using spatial analysis tools (QGIS and ArcGIS) to access the various experiential layers of the procession landscape within the urban environment of the Punic site (sixth–second centuries B.C.E.). After digitally simulating the diachronic development of the excavated necropolis, the two software are used to determine the topographic nodes of the performance along potential movement paths (least cost path analysis) connecting the acropolis to the various tombs-types (hypogea and simple grave tombs). Moreover, presuming the public nature of the analyzed rituals, and therefore the importance of visibility as a critical component for their affective meaning, viewshed analysis is utilized to test the degree of visibility from and toward the simulated spatial nodes of the procession. The analysis of these results is used to gain new insight into the role of movement as an intrinsic aspect of the mortuary rituals that triggered and enhanced social relationships while materializing new traces of control and identity on the landscape.