Megalithic Site "Tabaccara Coast" Lampedusa

The Natural Reserve "Isola di Lampedusa" was established in 1995 to protect an area of extreme importance for the wildlife, flora and fauna of Lampedusa: Inside the Zone A of the Natural Reserve we have found interesting megalithic remains and thanks to the permission of the Management of the Natural Reserve we can publish here some pictures taken inside the Reserve.

Natural Reserve Map: Zone A

None of the archeologists who have been dealing with the prehistory of Lampedusa has seen or studied before the megalithic remains inside this particular area of zone A of the Natural Reserve: they are hidden in the local scrubland. 
Area with megalithic remains inside zone A (Courtesy of Google Earth)

Area with megalithic remains inside zone A with tentative 3D reconstruction

This area is a 35,000 squared meters arid surface on limestone rock with a slight southern inclination (max height 68 meters  min height 60 meters above sea). The vegetation type of this area is the typical Mediterranean scrubland or “gariga” on arid soil and limestone rocks contributing to the low visibility of the limestone megalithic remains. Another factor hiding the megalithic remain is the absence of roads and maps/documentation mentioning the off-road remains  which stay unnoticed even during the touristic peak season of Lampedusa. Here we describe these megalithic remains using generic definitions such as “Huts”, “Enclosures”, “Defensive walls” to make it easier under standing the general plan of the site notwithstanding we know well that only the archaeological research can ultimately provide us with an exact description of the function, age and meaning of the megalithic remains that can be observed there. It’s the author opinion that the megalithic remains decried in this working paper are prehistoric but no archaeological study has been made on this site as of writing to confirm this tentative  chronology. All we know for sure is that the remains are megalithic remains and their construction style is homogeneous.

The author has recognized the megalithic remains initially by aerial imagery and satellite view and he has later verified the presence of megalithic remains by visiting the area and taking the pictures which we are showing here  with the kind authorization of the Natural Reserve management.


Protecting the norther border of the megalithic site the remains of a large ( 1 meter wide) wall stand crossing longitudinally the whole site with a length of approximately 200 meters : the wall is built with two parallel lines of orthostatic blocs filled by small limestone rocks. 

Megalithic wall remains

At the South-Eastern edge of the megalithic site there is a stone circle with an eight meters diameter, its shape and look is similar to most of the Lampedusa stone circles3 .

Stone Circle

At the South-Eastern edge of the megalithic site there is a stone circle resembling more closely an Hut with a a circular shape of 8 meters diameter. Unlike the common stone circles3 of Lampedusa  here the wall is higher (1 meter or more), there is a door and a square enclosure with a side of 2 meters  is built next to the circle. We call this kind of megalithic remain an Hut although further studies are needed to confirm this preliminary assumption. 


Hut and its tentative 3D reconstruction

Standing in the middle of the site there is a a large stone structure almost circular in shape (56 meters wide longitudinally and 58 meters long on the NS axis). The wall of this structure is small and barely visible to naked eye being well mimetized inside the local scrubland, it can be observed better from aerial imagery or with grand angle cameras. It is very difficult to make assumptions about the function of this enclosure in the middle of the megalithic site, it could be a sheepfold or it could have a ritual function or anything else: only further archaeological research can provide us with reasonable explanations on this issue. 
It must be noted that more large stone circles like this or wider can be found in Lampedusa.

Large Stone Circle

Various types of sherds scan be seen on the surface of the site (see working paper attached below) but those has never been dated or studied before. It must be remembered here that is not possible to pick stones, dig or damage  the natural environment inside the Natural Reserve.

 Tentative 3D Hut reconstructions 

July 2011  by Diego Ratti copyright © 
With more pictures, GPS cohordinates and more information about this site

Italian Version: (Versione in Italiano)

English Version:
                                      Megalithic Site "La Tabaccara" Lampedusa  working paper  (Scribd)

Regulations of the Zone A


1 “Lampedusa, Linosa e Lampione” Annals of Archaelogy, Vol IV 1911 pp11-34
2Sagrè "Rendiconti Accademia Nazionale dei XL" Roma, 1960, Serie IV, Volume XI
3 “Le Strutture curvilinee di Lampedusa: proposta di interpretazione” Armida De Miro, in Quaderni dell’ Istituto Archeologia, Università di Messina, n. 9 , year  1994.
4Diceglie “Telerilevamento archeologico di Lampedusa”, 1994 Falsano di Bari
“Tracce di un insediamento neolitico nell’ isola di Lampedusa” G. Radi, 1973 in Atti della Società Toscana di Scienze Naturali- Serie A - pp 197-205