Ħal Millieri is situated in very gently rolling country at the centre of Malta’s largest plain, a zone of globerigina limestone lving in the southeastern part of the island. Within an open area between the villages of Zurrieq, Qrendi, Mqabba and Kirkop, it stands 2.3 kilometres from the sea and some 100 metres above it on a relatively high point with considerable views towards the neighbouring villages in every direction. This rather flat and fertile farming district was always well inhabited in prehistoric and historic times. There are no prehistoric find-spots in the immediate vicinity, 1 but there is a Punic tomb in a held called Tal Gonna. 2 The nearest ancient remains of importance are the Late-Roman catacombs some 500 metres away at Tal Mentna. 3 However, the presence of what is apparently a Roman olive-crusher and of a number of ancient worked stones suggests that there was possibly a Roman farm as well as a quantity of olive trees at Ħal Millieri, 4 and such an establishment might have continued to function until the Muslim conquest in870. 5 Although thecampaigns of Count Roger in 1090 and of Roger II in 1127 brought Malta under the somewhat distant dominion of Norman Sicily, the population remained fundamentally Muslim in culture until the early thirteenth century; there was little Christian penetration before about 1200. 6 The antiquity of the settlement at Ħal Millieri is unknowrn. 7 The term Rahal or Ħal, which derived from the Arabic, and its Sicilianate equivalent casale, indicated some sort of settlement or village. 8 Ħal Millieri is first documented in 1419/20 when it was a casale with 14 men liable for militia service out of a population which perhaps amounted to 50 or 60. 9 The Annunciation church had been built by about 1450, 10 and the small fields, lanes and cisterns which are still visible XX-20may have changed little since late-medieval times; some fields still have the same name. 11