Past Event

The Ancient City of Tharros: Rich Tombs and Extensive Ruins from Punic and Roman Times

April 12, 2023
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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In-person only; 1161 Amsterdam Avenue

Before predatory looting, the site of the port city of Tharros in western Sardinia had extensive ruins, magnificent temples, and tombs stocked with jewels and other grave goods. In this roundtable, "The Ancient City of Tharros: Cultural Crossroads in the Mediterranean over Two Millennia," archaeologists will present the most recent discoveries; afterwards, guests will be invited to the opening reception for a linked photography exhibition (in the lobby).


Barbara Faedda, Italian Academy, Columbia University, and Paolo Carta, University of Trento


Nadia Canu, Mont’e Prama Foundation
Envisioning Tharros: Preservation, Research, and Progress

Carla Del Vais, University of Cagliari
Between Land and Sea: Research of the University of Cagliari in Tharros and its Territory

Steven Ellis, University of Cincinnati
New Directions in the Urban Archaeology of Tharros: the Cincinnati Excavations

Anna Chiara Fariselli, University of Bologna
The University of Bologna at Tharros and Capo San Marco: Forty Years of Excavations and Archaeological Enhancement Projects

Peter van Dommelen, Brown University
Colonial Settlements in Indigenous Landscapes: Tharros and the Gulf of Oristano across the 1st Millennium BCE


Francesco de Angelis, Columbia University

These initiatives are part of the Italian Academy's Sardinia Cultural Heritage Project which includes a book from Columbia University Press and an online digital exhibition—both of them focusing on the statues of Mont’e Prama. In a related initiative, the Academy facilitated the loan of a 3000-year-old statue from Mont’e Prama to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (on display May–December 2023).

This project is sponsored by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia with the collaboration of the Mont’e Prama Foundation.  


Nadia Canu graduated in cultural heritage conservation from the University of Sassari, then earned a PhD in archaeology. She is the author of more than 70 scientific and educational publications. At the Superintendency, she has directed dozens of excavations, restorations, enhancement projects, and museum installations, working in more than one hundred Sardinian municipalities. Since October 2022, she has served as director of the Mont'e Prama Foundation, based in Cabras, where she is working on the reunification of the warrior sculptures (the "Giants"), on re-starting various restoration and excavation campaigns, on education, and on international projects, including a collaboration with New York's Metropolitan Museum that will bring the archaeology of Sardinia to the U.S. public.

Carla Del Vais is Associate Professor of Phoenician-Punic Archaeology at the University of Cagliari. She earned a degree in Classics (University of Cagliari), the specialization in Archaeology (University of Bologna) and the Ph.D. (University of Provence-FR). Since 2000 she has held several teaching positions in Phoenician-Punic Archaeology at the University of Cagliari. Since 1987 she participated in numerous excavation campaigns in Italy and abroad; she has been scientific director of excavations in Sardinia. She participated in study missions abroad, particularly in Tunisia, Menorca and Lebanon. Since 1996 she has served as Curator of the Civic Museum of Cabras (OR) and from 2010 to 2022 as Director; she curated the permanent exhibit and various temporary exhibitions. She participated in numerous national and international conferences and published a monograph, about 120 scientific papers and edited several volumes.

Steven Ellis is a Roman archaeologist with interests in ancient cities and urban life.  He has directed the University of Cincinnati's excavations at Pompeii (the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia) and Tharros, Sardinia (the Tharros Archaeological Research Project). His primary publications include The Roman Retail Revolution (2018), The Making of Pompeii (2011), and The Porta Stabia Neighborhood at Pompeii (July 2023).  Steven is the recipient of several major grants and fellowships (from the NEH, the ACLS, Loeb, National Geographic, and the 'Rome Prize' from the American Academy in Rome), and is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati. 

Anna Chiara Fariselli is Full Professor of Phoenician-Punic Archaeology at the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna. She studies funerary and sacred archaeology, craft categories, Phoenician and Punic music and the historical-archaeological reconstruction of Carthaginian society. She has been digging at Tharros since 1990, initially as PHD and Field Director; since 2012 as Scientific Director of Ministerial Concessions in the heart of the ancient city (cardo maximus area) and on the promontory of Capo San Marco, where she discovered a Punic craftwork district. She is the author of numerous publications on Phoenician and Punic subjects. She is Head of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bologna.

Peter van Dommelen is an archaeologist studying cultural interactions, Indigeneity and colonialism in the rural West Mediterranean, especially in the Phoenician-Punic world. His research concerns migration, rural landscapes and households, and ancient agriculture, which structure long-term fieldwork and ceramic studies on the island of Sardinia. He serves as Director of the Joukowsky Institute of Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University and as co-editor of the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology. Publications include The Cambridge Prehistory of the Bronze and Iron Age Mediterranean (2014, co-edited with Bernard Knapp) and Il Mediterraneo occidentale dalla fase fenicia all'egemonia cartaginese (2021, with Andrea Roppa and Massimo Botto).

Francesco de Angelis is Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. He holds degrees in Classics and Classical Archaeology from the University of Pisa and the Scuola Normale Superiore. His research focuses on Etruscan, Roman, and Imperial Greek art and architecture, and he has received numerous fellowships and teaching awards. Since 2014, he has directed the archaeological fieldwork project APAHA Tibur at Hadrian’s Villa.