Ground stone percussion tools from Maltese Islands

Journal of Lithic Studies. 2016;3(3) DOI 10.2218/jls.v3i3.1674


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Journal Title: Journal of Lithic Studies

ISSN: 2055-0472 (Online)

Publisher: University of Edinburgh

Society/Institution: School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh

LCC Subject Category: Auxiliary sciences of history: Archaeology

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Felice Larocca (Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro)


Blind peer review

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Time From Submission to Publication: 8 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

A few lithic percussion tools, probably related to construction and craftsmanship, are stored in the National Museum of Archaeology of Valletta (Malta). Dated to the Temple Period (about 4000-2500 BCE), many are typologically similar to artefacts from the continental area, but others look distinctive and probably developed in loco in response to specific needs. This paper examines five stone hammers with different hafting methods (three of them show grooves or holes and two both grooves and holes). A huge double hand grip percussion tool belongs to a different and unusual typology: the double grip allowed two opposite-standing men, steadily holding it, to strike with strength on other surfaces, probably when heavy blows were needed. Grooved stone hammers are widespread in various European regions and are mostly associated with mining activities. In the Maltese archipelago the limestone lacks ore deposits, and thus their presence may be reflect other uses, although still associated to the work of stone on stone: earthworks, quarrying, finishing of stone surfaces, hydraulic works, excavation of burial and rituals structures, and others. The double grip lithic percussor (ID 9120) has no precise parallel and may be unique.This paper aims to fill a gap in the current literature about prehistoric lithic tools, as in many studies the focus is often placed on the results of specific activities rather than on the typological features of the artefacts that made these activities possible.