Mortuary customs in prehistoric Malta: Excavations at the Brochtorff Circle at Xaghra (1987–94)

Amongst the earliest stone architecture in the world, the Neolithic temples and hypogea of Malta testify to a sophisticated island culture. Explored in the early twentieth century, the subterranean burial temple, the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, was cleared of its burials and artefacts without detailed record. Late in the twentieth century, excavation at Xagħra on Gozo rediscovered a second cave cemetery that provides a unique comparison through the investigation of a substantial portion of the buried site using modern scientific techniques. This programme revealed one of the largest prehistoric burial assemblages of human remains yet discovered in the Mediterranean, amounting to some 220,000 bones, together with a rich assemblage of animal bone, figurative sculpture, symbolic artefacts and architectural remains.

The detailed factual and interpretative report on this site, supported by fresh scientific data on raw materials, landsnails and environment, isotopes, radiometric dating and statistical analysis, is placed in the broader framework of the domestic and ritual landscape of the Maltese Islands. The result is one of the most comprehensive studies of the incipient complexity of this mature, agricultural, but non-urban, island society so far published.

Browse

Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 17 of 17
  • ItemOpen Access
    Appendices
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Chalmers, Rhona; Hardisty, Holly; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    References
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    Conclusions
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    Symposium: the Temple Debate
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    Dating Maltese Prehistory
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Cook, Gordon; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Human and Animal Remains
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Stoddart, Simon; Barber, Geraldine; Duhig, Corinne; Mann, George; O'Connell, Tamsin; Lai, Luca; Redhouse, David; Tykot, Robert H.; Malone, Caroline; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    Material Culture
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Malone, Caroline; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David; Dixon, John; Leighton, Robert; Pedley, Martyn; Stoddart, Simon; Schembri, Patrick J.; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    Spatial and Stratigraphic Analysis of Tarxien Cemetery Levels
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Cutajar, Nathaniel; Grima, Reuben; Pace, Anthony; Stoddart, Simon; Hardisty, Holly; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Tarxien Phase Levels: Spatial and Stratigraphic Analysis and Reconstruction
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Stoddart, Simon; Malone, Caroline; Mason, Simon; Trump, Bridget; Trump, David; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    Żebbuġ Phase Levels: Spatial and Stratigraphic Analysis
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Trump, David; Duhig, Corinne; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Archaeological Sequence of the Circle
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Stoddart, Simon; Hardy, Peter; Malone, Caroline; Malone, Caroline; Nxumalo, Bongumenzi; Trump, David; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    Methods Applied in the Analysis of the Circle
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Malone, Caroline; Trump, David; Stoddart, Simon; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Ritual Environment: the Context of the Circle
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Grima, Reuben; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Domestic Environment
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Malone, Caroline; Grima, Reuben; Macphail, Richard I.; Trump, David; Stoddart, Simon; Hardisty, Holly; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Environment of the Maltese Islands
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Pedley, Martyn; Hardy, Peter; Mason, Simon; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    Introduction: the Intellectual and Historical Context
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Gouder, Tancred; Grima, Reuben; Trump, David; Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
  • ItemOpen Access
    Mortuary customs in prehistoric Malta: Excavations at the Brochtorff Circle at Xaghra (1987–94)
    (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2009-01-01) Malone, Caroline; Stoddart, Simon; Bonanno, Anthony; Trump, David
    Amongst the earliest stone architecture in the world, the Neolithic temples and hypogea of Malta testify to a sophisticated island culture. Explored in the early twentieth century, the subterranean burial temple, the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, was cleared of its burials and artefacts without detailed record. Late in the twentieth century, excavation at Xagħra on Gozo rediscovered a second cave cemetery that provides a unique comparison through the investigation of a substantial portion of the buried site using modern scientific techniques. This programme revealed one of the largest prehistoric burial assemblages of human remains yet discovered in the Mediterranean, amounting to some 220,000 bones, together with a rich assemblage of animal bone, figurative sculpture, symbolic artefacts and architectural remains. The detailed factual and interpretative report on this site, supported by fresh scientific data on raw materials, landsnails and environment, isotopes, radiometric dating and statistical analysis, is placed in the broader framework of the domestic and ritual landscape of the Maltese Islands. The result is one of the most comprehensive studies of the incipient complexity of this mature, agricultural, but non-urban, island society so far published.