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Title: New views on the Hypogeum and Tarxien
Other Titles: Archaeology and fertility cult in the Ancient Mediterranean
Authors: Ferguson, Ian F.G.
Keywords: Antiquities, Prehistoric -- Malta
Hypogeum (Paola, Malta)
Tarxien Temples (Tarxien, Malta)
Hypogeum (Paola, Malta) -- Symbolic aspects
Fertility cults -- Malta -- History
Fertility cults -- Mediterranean Region -- History -- Congresses
Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum (Paola, Malta)
Issue Date: 1986
Publisher: University of Malta Press
Citation: Ferguson, I. F. G. (1986). New views on the Hypogeum and Tarxien. In A. Bonanno (Ed.), Archaeology and Fertility Cult in the Ancient Mediterranean: papers presented at the First International Conference on Archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean, 2-5 September 1985 (pp. 151-161). Malta: University of Malta Press.
Abstract: As prehistory reaches further back into forgotten millennia, we run the risk of serious anachronisms. Different categories of material objects are unearthed, some quite enigmatic; study techniques should incorporate description, comparison, and reference to archaeological and social contexts. At Tarxien the 'Fat Lady' stands on a plinth sculpted with shapes best interpreted as querns and grains, pointing to a corn-goddess of the Demeter type. The Hypogeum's main function was burial, probably of a minority group and associated with reverence for ancestors. Evidently there was also a cult of incubation, classically associated with healing. Red ochre paintings in the Hypogeum show vines (Trees of Life) with perhaps pomegranates, associated with death and rebirth as in the cult of Persephone, who apparently had a temple in Malta. A general knowledge of the male role in procreation is unproved for the Early Neolithic. As the Hypogeum was the context for the cult, incubation there appears linked with death and rebirth, possibly some 'reincarnation: The Sleeping Lady could be an ex-voto terracotta given for a pregnancy posterior to an act of incubation.
ISBN: 9060322886
Appears in Collections:Archaeology and fertility cult in the Ancient Mediterranean

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