Museo G.A. Sanna (Sassari)

With their squared shoulders, folded arms and schematic facial features, these figurines—a fourth-millennium B.C. statue from Sardinia (shown here), and a late-third-millennium B.C. Cycladic statue from the Greek island of Syros (see photo of Cycladic statue from Syros)—might seem to represent a common cultural heritage. However, most scholars believe that these early traditions developed independently of one another. Not until the Late Bronze Age (after 1300 B.C.) did the Sardinians establish trading relations with the eastern Mediterranean (though their relations with other central Mediterranean peoples went back as far as the Stone Age, as we know from remains of trade in obsidian). Late Bronze Age Aegean pottery and Cypriot copper oxhide ingots (copper was alloyed with tin to make bronze) have been found at many Sardinian sites.