Join researchers on a field trip and discover Sardinia

Social Trips

Santa Barbara’s cave (Iglesias), Sardinia

DATE: 14 Sept 2024

LOCATION: South Sardinia


The cave of Santa Barbara is located inside the mine of San Giovanni di Bindua (Iglesias), in the province of South Sardinia. It was discovered by chance in 1952 by a group of miners during the excavation work of a well, which would have made it possible to bring the extracted material from one level of the mine to another. Until then unknown, because hidden inside the mountain, it opens between the rocky layer of ceroid limestone and silicified yellow dolomite, formations of the lower Cambrian, dating back to about 500 million years ago.

The site can be reached through an intricate system of underground tunnels that can be traveled via a small train which, crossing the tunnel located about 150 meters above sea level, after a journey of 700 linear meters from the entrance, leads to an elevator that goes up along a well. The vast cave has among its peculiar characteristics the tabular crystals of dark brown barite that cover the walls and the hemispherical concretions of pure white calcite with stalactites and stalagmites covered by aragonite eccentrics with columns even 25 meters high formed over the millennia.

Bue Marino cave (Cala Gonone – Dorgali), Sardinia

DATE: 14 Sept 2024

LOCATION: Sardinia inland


This sea cave can be visited for about 1 km but is part of a complex that extends for over 70 km inland. It is so called because it was used by monk seals, which the shepherds called “Su Oe ‘e Mare” (sea ox), because they used it as a shelter. The cave is divided into three distinct branches: the southern branch open to the public, the northern branch temporarily reserved for speleological visits and the central or middle branch, for underwater speleologists. The first visits to the cave date back to the 1950s, when shepherds and fishermen accompanied scholars and onlookers inside the north branch. The Grotta del Bue Marino was made famous by the seal colony that populated it until the 1970s, when it was the largest in Italy. But the cave is also interesting for the presence of some petroglyphs dating back to the Ozieri culture, which represent the “Dance of the Sun”. The presence of fresh water inside the cave suggests that it was a sacred place for the ancient inhabitants of these lands. In fact, the meeting point between fresh water and sea water is clearly visible inside the cave. 

Participation: To participate in this trip we ask a contribution of 25 €

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