Rock-cut pans at Mgarr ix-Xini

Rock cut-pan at Tas-Salvatur (Jaccarini and Cauchi 1999 Site II)


Walking along the road which from Ta' Blankas leads to the northern side of the valley, the rock-cut pans may be seen on both sides of the Valley in the area around the dam (see Jaccarini and Cauchi 1999: 441, Fig. 2)


The publication of an article by Jaccarini and Cauchi (1999: 419-444) has provided the first scientific attempt to study the enigmatic rock cut features first described by Mr. Zammit Haber. These pans consist of depressions, usually having a shallow rectangular depression leading to a smaller, deeper (usually round) depression further down the slope. Smaller depressions communicate to the main pans by channels or grooves.

By taking into account the site, incline and layout of the pans the authors proposed four different hypothesis to explain these enigmatic features. In their suggestions they argue that the rock-cut pans were used:-

1) grape crushing for the production of wine
2) olive pressing for the extraction of oil
3) drying followed by retting of flax in fresh water to produce linen
4) dyeing of fabrics using plants and other sources of dye.

Notwithstanding these interesting suggestions, the pans still remain a mystery. Any suggestion or comments?


Jaccarini, C.J. and Cauchi, M.N. 1999. The Enigmatic Rock-Cut Pans of Mgarr ix-Xini. Melita Historica Vol. XII, No. 4: 419 - 444.

Rock cut-pan at Tas-Salvatur (Jaccarini and Cauchi 1999 Site III)

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