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Two summers were spent on "research expeditions" to document the ancient Nuraghe (stone towers dating from 1800 BC) on the island of Sardinia, Italy. The ancient Romans subdued but could not conquer the Nuragic people, deciding, like modern tourists, to stick to the edges of the island and leave the interior to the ferocious "barbarians". In 1984 the Italian economic miracle had just arrived, motorbikes beginning to replace donkeys and rock concerts in the piazzas. The Sardi seemed quite distant from the ancient culture, yet they remain linked to it in their unique language and customs, in their fierce independence and, as genetic analysis will no doubt establish, in their bones.