The Maltese Islands were markedly shaped and altered through the influence of tectonic activity. Major tectonic movements in the central Mediterranean resulted the the formation of the Islands mass and the surrounding region, and the raising of this landmass above sea level at the end of the Miocene. Further tectonic activity eventually broke down the landmass into the various islands and rock of the Maltese archipelago. The exposure of the land to the environment enabled the acceleration of the action of denuding forces. The arrival of Neolithic man on the Islands about 7000 years ago with his agricultural and husbandry technology initiated a significant alteration of the land surface.