Tag Archives: Bronze Age

Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

Ġgantija

The awe-inspiring megalithic complex of Ġgantija was erected in three stages over a period of several hundred years (c.3600-3000 BC) by the community of farmers and herders inhabiting the small and isolated island of Gozo (Malta) at the centre of the Mediterranean.

Ġgantija consists of two temple units built side by side, enclosed within a single massive boundary wall, and sharing the same facade. Both temples have a single and central doorway, opening onto a common and spacious forecourt that is in turn raised on a high terrace. Rituals of life and fertility seem to have been practiced within these precincts, while the sophisticated architectural achievements reveal that something really exceptional was taking place in the Maltese Islands more than five thousand years ago.

This complex stayed in use for about one thousand years, down to the mid third millennium BC, when the Maltese Temple Culture disappeared abruptly and mysteriously. Eventually, the successive inhabitants of the Early Bronze Age (2500-1500 BC) adopted the site as a cremation cemetery.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood - Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

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Xagħra Circle | Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

RITUALS OF THE DEAD
Rituals at the Xaghra Circle was probably different from that at Ġgantija, because it involved the dead. The excavations of the site proved that burial rituals and rites changed. Some skeletons were found intact, but later in the Temple Period, skulls or long-bones were separated and buried in special pits. This suggests that the living may have returned to their dead relatives and performed secondary-burial rituals after some time had passed since their death. This, together with evidence of cremation during the Bronze Age at other sites, bears witness to the variety of death rituals performed throughout Maltese prehistory.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - Xagħra Circle. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Xagħra Circle. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

The National Museum of Archaeology | Valletta, Malta | 25 August 2014

The National Museum of Archaeology displays a significant array of artefacts from the Islands’ unique prehistoric periods, starting with the first arrival of man in 5200 BC, running up to 2500 BC. The first rooms trace man’s early settlement on the Islands up to the temple-building periods using a reconstruction of a rock-cut tomb. The collection includes obsidian cores and the Red Skorba figurines, which are predecessors of the temple period objects and statuary. The main hall is devoted to temple carvings and the collection continues with representations of animals, temple models, and the remarkable human figures. Of particular note are the exquisite figures of the ‘Sleeping Lady’ from the Hypogeum, and the ‘Venus’ of Hagar Qim. The last room exhibits some pottery from the temple period, together with tools, beads and other ornaments.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/nationalmuseumofarchaeology

The National Museum of Archaeology is housed in the Auberge de Provence, in Republic Street, Valletta. The building, an example of fine Baroque architecture, was built in 1571 and followed a plan by local architect Ġilormu Cassar. The Auberge de Provence was house to the Knights of the Order of St John originating from Provence, France and displays beautiful architectural features. Of particular note is the Grand Salon, with its richly painted walls and wooden beamed ceiling. The Museum exhibits a spectacular range of artefacts dating back to Malta’s Neolithic period (5000 BC) up to the Phoenician Period (400 BC). On display are the earliest tools used by the prehistoric people to facilitate their daily tasks and representations of animal and human figures; elements which not only show the great artistic skills of the first dwellers of the island but also gives us an insight of their daily lives.

Highlights include the ‘Sleeping Lady’ from the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, the ‘Venus of Malta’ from Ħaġar Qim, bronze daggers recovered from the Bronze Age layers at Tarxien Temples, and the Horus and Anubis pendant and the anthropomorphic sarcophagus, both belonging to the Phoenician Period. The Museum provides the visitor with a good introduction to the prehistory and early history of the Maltese Island sand acts as a catalyst to the other archaeological sites in Malta. Works are currently in progress to include another hall dedicated to the Punic period and others dedicated to the Roman and Byzantine periods in Malta.

Information from:
Web: http://heritagemalta.org/museums-sites/national-museum-of-archaeology/

© Tony Blood - The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood – The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Jug with floral decoration from Tal-Liedna (Terracotta). The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Jug with floral decoration from Tal-Liedna (Terracotta). The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

The Phoenicians buried their dead in a variety of ways. One of these was to put the corpse inside a coffin. Fashioned in wood, terracotta stone, stone, and marble, coffins consisted of a casket and a lid, and were often shaped like a human figure, a practice that was very popular in pharaonic Egypt. The coffin on display here was found at Għar Barka on the outskirts of Rabat (Malta) in 1797. Lead poured inside the grooves on the side of the coffin was meant to hold the lid firmly in place. In the Phoenician homeland, members of the royal family were buried in similar coffins, often re-using ones brought over from Egypt. They would have inscriptions written on the lids to curse anyone who disturbed their eternal sleep. © Tony Blood - Phoenician Coffin. The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

The Phoenicians buried their dead in a variety of ways. One of these was to put the corpse inside a coffin. Fashioned in wood, terracotta stone, stone, and marble, coffins consisted of a casket and a lid, and were often shaped like a human figure, a practice that was very popular in pharaonic Egypt. The coffin on display here was found at Għar Barka on the outskirts of Rabat (Malta) in 1797. Lead poured inside the grooves on the side of the coffin was meant to hold the lid firmly in place. In the Phoenician homeland, members of the royal family were buried in similar coffins, often re-using ones brought over from Egypt. They would have inscriptions written on the lids to curse anyone who disturbed their eternal sleep.
© Tony Blood – Phoenician Coffin. The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Silver plate with commemorative dedication to Sir Alexander Ball (1757-1809) (Silver). The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Silver plate with commemorative dedication to Sir Alexander Ball (1757-1809) (Silver). The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Bronze Dagger from Għar Mirdum (Bronze and Bone). The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Bronze Dagger from Għar Mirdum (Bronze and Bone). The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Sir Temi Zammit's notebook no. 11. The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Sir Temi Zammit’s notebook no. 11. The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Human Skull from the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Human Skull from the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Sleeping Lady from the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Sleeping Lady from the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Venus of Malta. The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Venus of Malta. The National Museum of Archaeology. Valletta Malta, 25 August 2014

Tarxien Temples | Tarxien, Malta | 13 August 2014

The Tarxien Temples date from 3600-2500 BC and are the most complex of all temple sites in Malta, consisting of four megalithic structures.

The temples are renowned for the detail of their carvings, which include domestic animals carved in relief, altars, and screens decorated with spiral designs and other patterns. Of particular note is a chamber set into the thickness of the wall between the South and Central temples, which is famous for its relief of two bulls and a sow. The site seems to have been used extensively for rituals, which probably involved animal sacrifice.

Tarxien is also of great interest because it offers an insight into how the temples were constructed: stonerollers left outside the south temple were probably used for transporting the megaliths. Remains of cremation have also been found at the centre of the South temple at Tarxien, which indicates that the site was reused as a Bronze Age cremation cemetery.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/tarxientemples

© Tony Blood - Pot. Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Pot. Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Entrance. Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Entrance. Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Tarxien Temples. Tarxien, Malta, 13 August 2014