Tag Archives: Heritage Malta

Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

Ġgantija

The awe-inspiring megalithic complex of Ġgantija was erected in three stages over a period of several hundred years (c.3600-3000 BC) by the community of farmers and herders inhabiting the small and isolated island of Gozo (Malta) at the centre of the Mediterranean.

Ġgantija consists of two temple units built side by side, enclosed within a single massive boundary wall, and sharing the same facade. Both temples have a single and central doorway, opening onto a common and spacious forecourt that is in turn raised on a high terrace. Rituals of life and fertility seem to have been practiced within these precincts, while the sophisticated architectural achievements reveal that something really exceptional was taking place in the Maltese Islands more than five thousand years ago.

This complex stayed in use for about one thousand years, down to the mid third millennium BC, when the Maltese Temple Culture disappeared abruptly and mysteriously. Eventually, the successive inhabitants of the Early Bronze Age (2500-1500 BC) adopted the site as a cremation cemetery.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood - Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

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Skull | Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

SKULL found at the Xagħra Circle. This is the skull of a woman, which was studied by forensic experts in order to recreate what she looked like when she was alive in the Neolithic.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

The Xagħra Stone Circle is an underground funerary complex, situated in Xagħra on the Maltese island of Gozo. It was first discovered by John Otto Bayer in the 1820s and rediscovered in 1964 after Gozitan researcher Joe Attard Tabone examined a painting by Charles Brochtorff in the National Library in Valletta. The site was excavated by a joint team from the University of Malta, the Maltese Museums Department and the University of Cambridge. The excavation uncovered the burial ground of the same community which practiced its rituals in the nearby Ggantija Temples, dating principally to the period from 3000 to 2500 BC. The most notable discoveries include more than 200,000 human bones and prehistoric art relating to the builders of the prehistoric Maltese temples. An earlier chambered tomb on site dates to the period between 4100 and 3800 BC.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/xaghracircle

© Tony Blood - Skull. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Skull. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

Graffiti | Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

On both sides of the doorway, two well-finished megaliths are covered in graffiti, some of which date back to the early 1800s. For many years, visitors incised their names or initials on the stone, gravely damaging the surface of many megaliths in the temples.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - Graffiti. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Graffiti. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

Xagħra Circle | Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

RITUALS OF THE DEAD
Rituals at the Xaghra Circle was probably different from that at Ġgantija, because it involved the dead. The excavations of the site proved that burial rituals and rites changed. Some skeletons were found intact, but later in the Temple Period, skulls or long-bones were separated and buried in special pits. This suggests that the living may have returned to their dead relatives and performed secondary-burial rituals after some time had passed since their death. This, together with evidence of cremation during the Bronze Age at other sites, bears witness to the variety of death rituals performed throughout Maltese prehistory.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - Xagħra Circle. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Xagħra Circle. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

Salt Pans | Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta | 30 September 2014

Salt is a very good preservative of foodstuffs and here small salt-pans were constructed by private families towards that end. In 1930 the Calafáto company took over this area at Blata and changed it into larger salt-pans, using the salt in it’s animal hides’ tanning factory at Marsa. These bath-shaped salt-pans lead sea water from one to the other by gravity. They were still in use up to the eighties of the last century when a big storm caused irreparable damage to them.

Information from:
Rural Development Programme for Malta 2007-2013
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
Europe Investing in Rural Areas

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Salt Pans. Selmun, Mellieħa, Malta, 30 September 2014

Għar Dalam Cave and Museum | Birżebbuġa, Malta | September 2014

The initials GD on the wall stand for Giuseppe Despott, the first curator of natural history (1922-1933). He carried out a series of excavations inside Għar Dalam from 1912 to 1917. His claim to fame was the find of two Taurodont teeth believed tat the time to have belonged to Neanderthal man.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - GM. Għar Dalam Cave, Birżebbuġa, Malta, 23 September 2014

© Tony Blood – GM. Għar Dalam Cave, Birżebbuġa, Malta, 23 September 2014

Għar Dalam Cave and Museum | Birżebbuġa, Malta | September 2014

Għar Dalam’s relevance as a prehistoric site was discovered in the latter half of the 19th Century with a series of excavations unearthing animal bones as well as human remains and artifacts. The Cave is a highly important site for its Palaeontology, archaeology and ecology.

The history of the cave and that of the Islands can be decoded from Għar Dalam’s stratigraphy. The lowermost layers, more than 500,000 years old, contained the fossil bones of dwarf elephants, hippopotami, micro-mammals and birds among other species. This layer is topped by a pebble layer, and on top of it there is the so-called ‘deer’ layer, dated to around 18,000 years ago. The top layer, or ‘cultural layer’, dates less than 10,000 years and holds evidence of the first humans on the Island. It was here that the earliest evidence of human settlement on Malta, some 7,400 years ago, was discovered.

The site consists of a cave, a Victorian style exhibition and a didactic display as well as a garden planted with indigenous plants and trees.

Information from:
Web: http://heritagemalta.org/museums-sites/ghar-dalam/

© Tony Blood - Dwarf Elephant. Għar Dalam Cave, Birżebbuġa, Malta, 23 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Dwarf Elephant. Għar Dalam Cave, Birżebbuġa, Malta, 23 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Victorian Display. Għar Dalam Cave, Birżebbuġa, Malta, 23 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Victorian Display. Għar Dalam Cave, Birżebbuġa, Malta, 23 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Għar Dalam Cave, Birżebbuġa, Malta, 23 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Għar Dalam Cave, Birżebbuġa, Malta, 23 September 2014