University of Malta

Tore Lomsdalen
UOM Main Page
Apply - Admissions 2016



Cosmology in the Maltese Prehistoric Temple Period

This research project aims to further the evidence-based reconstruction of cosmology and worldview in Malta during the Temple Period. It shall focus on the identification of cosmological elements in the Temple Period by taking a holistic approach combining skyscape, landscape, iconography and material culture. In particular the project will study the following elements: 

  • Iconography, distribution of objects within buildings, and other material culture;
  • The megalithic buildings themselves, temporality, ordering of space, and visual integration;
  • Scale of monuments’ integration in the landscape, their relationship to various resources, apparent horizon, orientation and heavenly bodies;
  • The relationship between all of the above and the sky as a potential marker of time, projector of belief systems, worldview and source of enchantment. 

These elements will be placed in the wider context of landscape, seascape, taskscape and skyscape in which they were created. The term ‘taskscape’, is used here referring to ‘the entire ensemble of tasks’ that takes place in a landscape as part of the routines of everyday life (Ingold 2000: 195).  

The project will explore what kind of cosmology existed at the beginning of the Maltese Temple Period and how it developed until the end of that period. Within this holistic approach, the following key moments of transition will be investigated:

1.The emergence of the Temple Culture (c. 4,100 BCE).  

2.Developments during the core Temple Period (Ġgantija Phase [c. 3,600 - 3,000 BCE] and the Tarxien Phase [c. 3,000 - 2,500 BCE]).

3.The end of the Temple Period and the inital stage of the Tarxien Cementary Phase (c. 2,500 – 1,500 BCE).

Funding organization:



Dr Reuben Grima, Senior Lecturer Department of Conservation and Built Heritage, University of Malta

Dr Fabio Silva, University of Wales Trinity Saint David and UCL, UK       

Educational background: 

M.A. (Cultural Astronomy and Astrology), University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK.

Last Updated: 6 December 2016

Log In back to UoM Homepage