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Cistern Found To Have Been Ancient Tomb (Malta)
Times Of Malta ^

Posted on 02/10/2008 5:10:07 PM PST by blam

Cistern found to have been ancient tomb

Studies at Limestone Heritage, the museum/park which traces the use of stone in Malta, have confirmed that a bell-shaped cistern in the Siggiewi quarry where the museum is located, is an ancient tomb of Punic or Roman origin.

The studies were conducted by Dr Nicholas Vella, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta.

Entrance into the tomb is now through one of its two burial chambers but in antiquity the tomb was reached from the fields above, down a deep shaft. In later years, the shaft was refashioned into a bell-shaped cistern to collect rainwater.

The tomb was cut into the soft limestone that outcrops in this area. The 2.30 metre-deep shaft would probably have been rectangular with footholds dug on the side to allow the funeral undertaker to descend to its bottom.

Two burial chambers, one opposite the other, are found at the bottom of the shaft. They are small rooms, roughly rectangular in shape, entered through low arched doorways.

Dr Vella explained in a report that inside, to the left of each entrance, is a mortuary bed cut into the rock. The corpse would have been laid to rest on the bed with its head lying on a rock-cut pillow at the deep end of the chamber. Pottery vessels, often including plates, jugs and storage jars (amphorae), would have been placed in the chamber to accompany the corpse. The chamber would have been sealed with a stone slab blocking the doorway.

Each mortuary bed is about 1.80 metres long and about half a metre wide, indicating that only one adult would have been placed on the bed. In one corner of each burial chamber is a pilaster cut into the rock. This is the only decorative feature visible inside the chambers. Original cut marks are visible on the ceiling of burial chamber 2. These are different from those produced by a modern pickaxe on the ceiling of burial chamber 1.

Dr Vella said it was difficult for archaeologists to date the tomb because none of its contents had been preserved. The pottery containers and other objects may have been discovered when the tomb was refashioned into a water cistern, he said. Moreover, any inscriptions or decorations on the walls of the burial chambers werevno longer visible because the entire surface was covered in a waterproofing mortar made from a mixture of lime and clay.

“In the absence of such material the tomb has to be dated according to its shape and its layout. Tombs like this one, with chambers on either side of a deep shaft are common in Malta after the 3rd century BC. This would correspond to a time when the Maltese Islands were under Carthaginian domination. However, this type of tomb was common also in later Roman times up until the 2nd century AD.”

At some point in time, probably in the nineteenth century, the tomb was refashioned into a cistern to collect rainwater. Indeed, elsewhere at Limestone Heritage another example of such a cistern survives in the quarry face.

The shaft of the tomb was widened, especially at the bottom, and the rock cut in the shape of a massive bell. Part of the cistern shaft was built from stone blocks kept together with plaster. At the bottom of the shaft is a sump to collect sediment. Rainwater would have gathered here and inside the tomb chambers too. To make the surface of the rock waterproof, the builders of the cistern applied a cement-based mortar on the rock surface except on the roofs of the chambers. On the surface of the field above the cistern is a typical limestone cistern-head (ħerża). Water would have been drawn from here probably to water the crops in the field, Dr Vella said.

The tomb has been opened to visitors.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ancient; cistern; godsgravesglyphs; malta; tomb

1 posted on 02/10/2008 5:10:27 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

They’ve been drinking Grave Water. No wonder the Maltese are so prone to the influence of Cthulhu.


2 posted on 02/10/2008 5:16:39 PM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


3 posted on 02/10/2008 5:30:08 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Inyo-Mono

Over here.


4 posted on 02/10/2008 5:36:25 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: Grimmy

MMM...tomb-licious!


5 posted on 02/10/2008 5:49:33 PM PST by SIDENET (Hubba Hubba...)
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To: blam
These are grave developments.

I wonder what other secrets have been entombed there.

6 posted on 02/10/2008 5:50:53 PM PST by SIDENET (Hubba Hubba...)
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To: blam
How did you delete my post number 3 and move your "ping" post to number 3 ???

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7 posted on 02/10/2008 5:52:46 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (If you don't want people to get your goat, don't tell them where it's tied.)
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To: Inyo-Mono

Sometimes, the forum works in mysterious ways.


8 posted on 02/10/2008 5:56:07 PM PST by SIDENET (Hubba Hubba...)
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To: SIDENET

Hey Gruel-Aid!


9 posted on 02/10/2008 6:00:22 PM PST by Hegemony Cricket (IX-XI -- numquam didici)
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To: Inyo-Mono; SIDENET
"How did you delete my post number 3 and move your "ping" post to number 3 ???"

When I posted this article the first time, I hit post and up popped a screen that said "Proxy Error" or something. So, I went back and reformatted and posted again. Turns out the first one posted and that's the one you posted on...I had it pulled because I like this one better.

10 posted on 02/10/2008 6:03:02 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

Whew! Thanks, I thought I was having a “Twilight Zone” there for a minute!


11 posted on 02/10/2008 6:05:15 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (If you don't want people to get your goat, don't tell them where it's tied.)
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To: Hegemony Cricket

LOL!


12 posted on 02/10/2008 6:05:59 PM PST by SIDENET (Hubba Hubba...)
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To: blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Thanks Blam. Gee, these things look like colonial root cellars to me. ;')

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

· Google · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology magazine · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Mirabilis · Texas AM Anthropology News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo ·
· History or Science & Nature Podcasts · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


13 posted on 02/11/2008 11:01:00 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________Profile updated Sunday, February 10, 2008)
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To: SunkenCiv

Don’t drink the water!


14 posted on 02/11/2008 11:03:03 AM PST by Monkey Face (A fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer.)
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To: Inyo-Mono

Vista? /rimshot


15 posted on 02/11/2008 11:03:31 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________Profile updated Sunday, February 10, 2008)
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To: Monkey Face

If they found this cistern, we should reasonably expect the discovery of the brothern.


16 posted on 02/11/2008 11:34:10 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________Profile updated Sunday, February 10, 2008)
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To: SunkenCiv

Or the mothern.


17 posted on 02/11/2008 11:37:50 AM PST by Monkey Face (A fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer.)
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To: Monkey Face

Maybe it’s the fatherst thing from their minds.


18 posted on 02/11/2008 11:50:34 AM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________Profile updated Sunday, February 10, 2008)
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To: SunkenCiv

Or too deep to d-well on.


19 posted on 02/11/2008 11:53:42 AM PST by Monkey Face (A fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer.)
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To: blam
It must have been the tomb of a clown.
I kept hearing people say, "Does this water taste funny to you?"
20 posted on 02/11/2008 12:01:55 PM PST by Ignatz ( RENT THIS SPACE!)
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To: Monkey Face

I wouldn’t Gozo far as that.


21 posted on 02/11/2008 12:18:58 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________Profile updated Sunday, February 10, 2008)
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To: SunkenCiv

The subject is pretty dry and boring.


22 posted on 02/11/2008 12:21:08 PM PST by Monkey Face (A fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer.)
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To: Monkey Face

Aqueduct my responsibility to point it out, but I wouldn’t. ;’)


23 posted on 02/11/2008 12:52:13 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________Profile updated Sunday, February 10, 2008)
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To: SunkenCiv

That one just flue right by me.


24 posted on 02/11/2008 12:57:27 PM PST by Monkey Face (A fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer.)
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To: SIDENET
Sometimes, the forum works in mysterious ways.

Blog works in mysterious ways.

25 posted on 02/11/2008 2:36:38 PM PST by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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