Tag Archives: Neolithic

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

SKULL found at the Xagħra Circle. This is the skull of a woman, which was studied by forensic experts in order to recreate what she looked like when she was alive in the Neolithic.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

The Xagħra Stone Circle is an underground funerary complex, situated in Xagħra on the Maltese island of Gozo. It was first discovered by John Otto Bayer in the 1820s and rediscovered in 1964 after Gozitan researcher Joe Attard Tabone examined a painting by Charles Brochtorff in the National Library in Valletta. The site was excavated by a joint team from the University of Malta, the Maltese Museums Department and the University of Cambridge. The excavation uncovered the burial ground of the same community which practiced its rituals in the nearby Ggantija Temples, dating principally to the period from 3000 to 2500 BC. The most notable discoveries include more than 200,000 human bones and prehistoric art relating to the builders of the prehistoric Maltese temples. An earlier chambered tomb on site dates to the period between 4100 and 3800 BC.

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

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

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

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

On both sides of the doorway, two well-finished megaliths are covered in graffiti, some of which date back to the early 1800s. For many years, visitors incised their names or initials on the stone, gravely damaging the surface of many megaliths in the temples.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

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

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

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

Skorba Temples | Żebbiegħ Mġarr, Malta | 19 September 2014

The site of Skorba lies in the hamlet of Żebbiegħ, on the outskirts of Mġarr, overlooking the nearby valley and providing a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape.

Excavated by David Trump in the early 1960s, quite late when compared to other similar sites, this temple is unique for providing crucial evidence concerning the domestic aspect of the prehistoric people, including the temple builders themselves. This archaeological site includes the remains of two megalithic temple structures, one of which dates from the earliest phase of megalithic construction – the Ġgantija Phase, while the other was constructed at a later stage in prehistory, that is, the Tarxien Phase.

In addition, there are also the remains of several domestic huts, in which the prehistoric temple builders used to dwell. Some structures date from before the Temple Period (i.e. before 3600 BC), and therefore, are amongst the oldest constructed structures on the Maltese Islands. Scientific studies on these structures have provided crucial evidence on the life-sustaining resources which were available at the time and have also thrown light on the dietary patterns of the prehistoric people.

The archaeological value of the site and its contribution to our understanding of Maltese prehistory, were recognised by the international community and by UNESCO in 1992, when it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List along with five other temple sites on the islands. In the words of David Trump himself, this site was not only as important as any of the others for the part it played in uncovering the whole prehistory of Malta, [but] it was more important than all the others put together.

Information from:
Web: http://heritagemalta.org/museums-sites/skorba/

© Tony Blood - Skorba Temples, Żebbiegħ, Mġarr, Malta, 19 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Skorba Temples, Żebbiegħ, Mġarr, Malta, 19 September 2014

The Citadel | Victoria, Gozo | 30 August 2014

The Citadel in Gozo owes its roots to the late medieval era, but the hill has been settled since Neolithic times. After the Great Siege of 1565, the Knights set about re-fortifying it to provide refuge and defence against further attack. Until 1637, the Gozitan population was required by law to spend their nights within the Citadel for their own safety. In later, more peaceful times, this restriction was lifted and people settled below its walls, creating the prosperous town of Rabat, now known as Victoria.

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

© Tony Blood - Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Crests. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Crests. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Steps. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Steps. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Salt Pans | Il Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta | 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, August 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, August 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Hiker's Cave.  Il Blata Tal Melh, rabat, Malta, August 2014

© Tony Blood – Hiker’s Cave. Il Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Hiker's Cave. Il Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, August 2014

© Tony Blood – Hiker’s Cave, Il Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, August 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Bahrija, Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, August 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Bahrija, Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, August 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Il Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, August 2014

© Tony Blood – Il Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Inlet. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Inlet. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Staircase. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Staircase. Blata Tal Melh, Rabat, Malta, 26 August 2014