Based on the combined techniques of radiocarbon dating and
dendrochronology, the prehistoric temples and artifacts of
the Maltese Islands are now proven to be more ancient than
Stonehenge and the pyramids. The Maltese archipelago was
permanently settled for the first time during the closing
centuries of the 6th millennium BCE and was inhabited by
communities from 5000 - 2300 BCE. The highly sophisticated
temples of this period were repositories of some
of the finest art produced in the Mediterranean world. At least
thirty-seven temple sites have been discovered from these
times (the largest concentration of sacred sites to be found
in a comparably small area anywhere on our planet) leading
philosophers, historians and archaeologists to speculate
whether Malta might have been a sacred island in those early
days, where people throughout theMediterranean and beyond,
would come on pilgrimage to worship, pray for the success of
their causes, and give thanks for their successes enroute home.
Limestone, then as now, was the major building material of
the islands, and these awe inspiring megalithic stones which
fit together with careful architectural precision to form the
rounded temple walls, can weigh as much as twenty tons each.
The enormous engineering feat of transporting and raising
such stones gives pause for thought, not to mention the
greatest admiration for these people's dedication and skill.
Several types of limestone exist in Malta: 'coralline', the harder
and more durable, usually used for the construction walls, and
'globigerina', the softer and more easily worked, used for the
statues and decorative friezes.
Many mysteries remain unanswered about the origins of the
enigmatic 'cart ruts' which criss-cross the island in an
unexplained transportation system, and one can scarcely
excavate for any new dwelling without stumbling upon
remains of the distant past. Discovered artifacts usually
produce as many questions as they do clues about their origins.
The Temple People disappeared abruptly, without a trace,
c. 2300 BCE, leaving future generations to speculate and hope
for additional discoveries to shed light and understanding on
this veiled period of our past.