Precious heritage dating back to about five thousand years ago, fully preserved a few kilometres from Arzachena, a renowned tourist destination of Gallura. Here a Neolithic civilization has left clear traces of its passage with the necropolis of Li Muri , the oldest site of the entire territory, also called the 'circle tombs' (or 'Circles of Arzachena') for the characteristic layout of the tombstones. According to scholars, this is a type of necropolis that is common only in this area, so much so that the prenuragic culture that generated it is called 'Gallurese'.
Once near the necropolis you will observe four 'dolmen cistas', or small rooms made of slabs of stone placed vertically in the ground, and an allée couverte , or a gallery tomb in which there is no separation between the entrance corridor and the burial chamber. The size of the circles varies from five to eight and a half meters in diameter, bordered by small slabs planted in the ground with a knife and arranged in concentric circles. The rooms contained a mound of stones and earth with the tombs inside them, forming a series of little hills, one next to the other. Between them stood two large granite steles stuck vertically in the ground - just like the menhirs - with the function of signalling the tombs or representing the deities. A short distance from the clubs you will see small lithic boxes, presumably destined to collect offers at the time of burial. They are quadrangular in shape, formed by stone slabs.
Inside the tombs the deceased was buried in a crouched position and individually, unlike the rest of Sardinia where burials were generally collective. The type of burial represents one of the main peculiarities of the civilization that inhabited the area. The burial followed particular rituals, including painting the body of the deceased with red ochre. Pebbles with traces of this colour have been found as evidence of this ritual. Ochre was used to symbolise blood, meaning regeneration, and was therefore used on the bodies as a good omen. The body was accompanied by funerary objects, consisting of pottery, stone vases, axes and hard stones used as beads for necklaces. The excavations also found rare and refined artefacts in flint and steatite, including a finely worked cup, some knife blades and necklace beads in green stone. Some precious jewels suggest that the dead of Li Muri were important within those peoples, accustomed to combat, despite the fact that society was predominantly peaceful and dedicated to a pastoral economy.
There are numerous affinities between the Gallura necropolis and those of southern Corsica and the Pyrenean area, as well as the Aegean islands and the Balkan area: perhaps the culture of the Arzachena circles is an example of European megalithism. The circles of the necropolis are the most important Neolithic remains in Gallura - nearby there are also important nuragic remains: the tombs of Li Lolghi and Coddu Vecchju, the temple of Malchittu and, above all, the Albucciu nuraghe.