The paper presents an alternative view of the social forces behind the construction of the Maltese temples, in the light of new evidence from recent excavations. Access analysis and the social anthropological theory of networks in island communities are introduced as aids in the analysis of the parallel programme of funerary and temple architecture in the Maltese islands that had its origin in the late fifth millennium cal. BC and came to an abrupt end in the mid-third millennium cal. BC. It is suggested that intra-community rivalry could have provided the mobilization of resources for the phases of construction of the temples and that centralized social forces need not have been as important as has been suggested in previous work. In this light, the end to temple construction need not be seen as a major social collapse, but as the end of one means of fighting with material culture.
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