Tag Archives: Stone

St. Mary’s Tower | Comino | 1 October 2014

The Santa Marija Tower on Comino formed part of the early system of towers which the Order set up to facilitate defence and communication between the Ċittadella in Gozo and Mdina. It later became a key location of the system of towers built along the coast. The decision to build this Tower was taken by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt in 1618, and was financed by the Grand Master himself, by the sale of the brushwood on the island and from the profits made by the resettled farmers. The site chosen was some eighty metres above sea level.

The design of the Tower was square in plan with four corner turrets. The bulk of the Tower is twelve metres high and stands on a plinth some eight metres high. A three metre wide strip was laid along the top surface of the plinth to enable the defenders to move easily to any endangered point. The walls of the Tower are about six metres thick and the four corner turrets are extended perpendicularly and crowned with a battlement top.

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

© Tony Blood - St. Mary's Tower, Comino, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Mary’s Tower, Comino, 1 October 2014

St. Mark’s Tower | Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta | 1 October 2014

The De Redin Towers are a series of small fortified watch towers that Grandmaster Martin de Redin of the Order of Saint John built on the Maltese islands between the years 1658 and 1659. There are 13 on Malta and 1 on Gozo. The towers are in sight of each other, and provided a communication link between Gozo and Grand Harbour, in addition to functioning as watchtowers against attack by Corsairs. They were also designed to withstand an attack if the need arose.

The design is based on the design of the last of the five original Lascaris towers, the Sciuta Tower at Wied iż-Żurrieq, that Grand Master Giovanni Paolo Lascaris, de Redin’s predecessor, had built in 1640. The locals refer to both the five Lascaris towers and the thirteen de Redin towers as “de Redin towers”.

Nine of the fourteen towers still exist today and most are in good condition and accessible to the public. Two towers were destroyed but the remains still survive, while another three were completely demolished and no remains survive.

De Redin towers are featured on the coats of arms of the Armed Forces of Malta, the Malta Stock Exchange and the local council of Pembroke.

Information from:
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Redin_towers

This is one of Grand Master de Redin’s watch towers and is situated a few hundred metres from the Għallis Tower. Also known as St Mark’s Tower, this is probably the third of the thirteen towers built by Grand Master de Redin. The stone work cost 408 scudi and was paid for by the Grand Master. Its construction and history is similar to that for Ghallis Tower and it was built between March 1658 and July of the following year together with the other twelve towers. During the British period a small room was built in front of the Tower to serve as a guard room but only its foundations remain. On the first floor there is an inlet to an underground well.

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

© Tony Blood - St. Mark's Tower. Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Mark’s Tower. Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta, 1 October 2014

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

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

Salt Pans | Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta | 26 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Naxxar, Malta, 26 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Naxxar, Malta, 26 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Naxxar, Malta, 26 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Naxxar, Malta, 26 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Naxxar, Malta, 26 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Naxxar, Malta, 26 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Naxxar, Malta, 26 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Naxxar, Malta, 26 September 2014

Għar Dalam Cave and Museum | Birżebbuġa, Malta | September 2014

The initials GD on the wall stand for Giuseppe Despott, the first curator of natural history (1922-1933). He carried out a series of excavations inside Għar Dalam from 1912 to 1917. His claim to fame was the find of two Taurodont teeth believed tat the time to have belonged to Neanderthal man.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - GM. Għar Dalam Cave, Birżebbuġa, Malta, 23 September 2014

© Tony Blood – GM. Għar Dalam Cave, Birżebbuġa, Malta, 23 September 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

Ta’ Ħaġrat Temples | Mġarr, Malta | 19 September 2014

Dating from 3600-3200 BC, the two Ta’ Hagrat temples are amongst the earliest temple buildings in Malta and are extremely well preserved.

The larger dates to 3600-3200 BC and the smaller to 3300-3000 BC. The plentiful pottery found at this site suggests that these two temples were built on top of an earlier village. Finds from this site include a unique discovery – a small limestone model of a building.

The larger temple is set in the middle of a large semicircular forecourt and the impressive façade with a monumental doorway was reconstructed in 1937. Two steps lead up to the main entrance and a corridor flanked by huge uprights of coralline limestone. The corridor beyond the entrance is paved with large stone blocks placed with great accuracy.

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

© Tony Blood - Ta' Ħaġrat Temples in Mġarr, Malta, 19 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Ta’ Ħaġrat Temples in Mġarr, Malta, 19 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Ta' Ħaġrat Temples in Mġarr, Malta, 19 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Ta’ Ħaġrat Temples in Mġarr, Malta, 19 September 2014

Salt Pans | Sliema, Malta | 17 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Sliema, Malta, 17 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Sliema, Malta, 17 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Sliema, Malta, 17 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Sliema, Malta, 17 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Sliema, Malta, 17 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Sliema, Malta, 17 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

Statuette | Ħagar Qim Temples | Qrendi, Malta | 20 August 2014

STONE STATUETTES
A collection of four statuettes depicting obese figures were found below some steps during restoration works in 1949.

(These figurines are now on display at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta).

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - Statuette, Ħagar Qim Temples. Qrendi, Malta, 20 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Statuette, Ħagar Qim Temples. Qrendi, Malta, 20 August 2014

Mnajdra Temples | Qrendi, Malta | 20 August 2014

Mnajdra is found in an isolated position on a rugged stretch of Malta’s southern coast overlooking the isle of Fifla. It is some 500m away from Ħaġar Qim Temples. It consists of three buildings facing a common oval forecourt. The first and oldest structure dates to the Ġgantija phase (3600 – 3200 BC). The second structure to be built was the South Temple, constructed in the early Tarxien phase (3150 – 2500 BC). The Central Temple, inserted between the other two, was the last to be built. Remains to the north-east and south of these buildings indicate that these three structures are only the best preserved of a larger complex.

The South Temple has its entrance set in a concave monumental facade and leads to two rooms, or apses. On the left-hand side, a decorated porthole doorway (a square-shaped opening cut in the centre of a stone block) leads into a small chamber. The apse to the right has a small rectangular opening which connects it to a chamber within the thickness of the walls accessible only from the rear of the building and a porthole doorway at the top of a small flight of stairs leading into another small chamber. Within the latter chamber is a small niche accessed through a small porthole slab set within a trilithon. This arrangement features on the Maltese 5, 2 and 1 euro cent coins. The four horizontal courses at the top of the walls in this area are perhaps the best indication of what the building’s roof would have looked like.

Opposite the main entrance is the doorway to the second set of apses flanked by two large blocks decorated with small drilled holes. This doorway and the decorated blocks mark the position of the rising sun on the first day of spring and autumn (the Equinoxes) and the first day of summer and winter (the Solstices).

Mnajdra’s Central Temple is built on an artificial platform and has an unusual facade in that it has two doorways, a central porthole doorway and a second open doorway with a single step to its left. The first pair of rooms are built in well-finished smooth upright stone blocks supporting two horizontal courses. There is an engraving of a temple facade on a large upright next to the doorway into the inner apses. These apses hold a central covered niche and a porthole doorway in the left-hand apse, leading to a small chamber built into the thickness of the wall.

In the East Temple, the low rubble walls visible today are modern reconstructions; they follow the original plan of this structure as indicated by the torba (crushed limestone) floor which survived. The upright stone blocks in the main doorway and in the entrance to the central apse are original. Two of them retain several irregular lines of drilled holes which have been the focus of many studies and theories on their possible meaning.

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

© Tony Blood - Mnajdra Temples. Qrendi, Malta, 20 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Mnajdra Temples. Qrendi, Malta, 20 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Mnajdra Temples. Qrendi, Malta, 20 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Mnajdra Temples. Qrendi, Malta, 20 August 2014

Ħagar Qim Temples | Qrendi, Malta | 20 August 2014

TEMPLE ROOFING
The remains of a roof can be found inside the chambers. The horizontal courses above the upright slabs protrude over the one beneath. These courses are the remains of the base of a corbelled roof, the type of construction that may have originally been used to roof over parts of the temple.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - Ħagar Qim Temples. Qrendi, Malta, 20 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Ħagar Qim Temples. Qrendi, Malta, 20 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Ħagar Qim Temples. Qrendi, Malta, 20 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Ħagar Qim Temples. Qrendi, Malta, 20 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

Tarxien Temples | Tarxien, Malta | 13 August 2014

This feature seems to have constituted a focal point in the South Temple. The lower half of the original was carved out of a single block of stone. The plugged cavity hewn within its decorated surface, served as a cubbyhole in which a number of Flint knives and burnt animal bones were found. The upper half of the alter was constructed with smaller slabs, creating a small space which contained burnt animal remains.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

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

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