The New Stone Age Period in Malta: Result? 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites!
5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites!
Intrigued by the New Stone Age era on the Maltese islands? Then read on and marvel at what remains from this prehistory period.
The New Stone Age (or Neolithic) era is synonymous with the magnificent and awe inspiring temples that the Neolithic people built.
Malta was blessed by the fact that to this day, a good number of these temples are virtually intact, even though they were erected around 3600 B.C.
The structures made by the Neolithic people were like nothing else and they are by far the oldest megalithic structures in the world. Yes, they predate even the Pyramids of Egypt.
Archeologists and researchers of the New Stone Age period, are still somewhat bewildered as to how these temple people managed to build these structures with enormous blocks of stones (each one weighing at least a ton) in an era where they had none of the vast choice of machinery and tools that we have today.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating thing about the temples are their precision. Very little is known on who the Neolithic people were and how they created such masterpieces.
How did they carry the blocks? And how on earth did they lift them and place them so perfectly on top of each other to form “ceilings” for the temples?
Alas, it is possible that many of our questions about the Neolithic period will likely remain unanswered because the Neolithic people left no written evidence of their existence.
The artifacts they left behind on the Maltese islands indicate that they worshipped the Great Mother (Magna Mater). An interesting curiosity is that no evidence was ever found of weapons. It is therefore assumed that the Neolithic people lived in a peaceful society.
And the mystery goes on …. How can a seemingly advanced civilization disappear so suddenly?
Yes, the neolithic people virtually disappeared at around 2000 B.C. To this day, nobody knows what happened to them. What we have is only speculation: some researchers say that they were overtaken by invaders while others indicate that epidemic disease was to be their doom. Famine could also have been the culprit for their sudden disappearance.
What’s known for sure is that the New Stone Age period on the Maltese islands left the world one of its most marveled at structures and ancient civilizations, not to mention the most fascinating group of attractions in Malta.
The Tarxien temples are the largest temple complex in Malta and were among the last to be built.
The complex consists of three interlinked temples and entrance is through the enormous trilithons.
A replica of the "fat lady" figure is also on display here (Original is found at the Archeology Museum in Valletta).
For more info on these fascinating temples, go to our Prehistoric Civilizations: Tarxien Temples page here.
Hagar Qim is perhaps the least understood from all Malta temples. The complex consists of four temples.
The design of the temples is somewhat different from the others found on the Maltese islands.
Many relics were unearthed here and they are now on display at the National Museum of Archeology in Republic Street, Valletta.
Want to know more about these impressive temples? Go to our Neolithic People: Hagar Qim page here.
Just a couple of minutes walk away from Hagar Qim, are the Mnajdra temples.
The complex consists of three temples.
The arena within Mnajdra temples is believed to have been a place where people congregated to attend to religious ceremonies.
Check out our Prehistoric Civilizations: Mnajdra page here, for more info on these temples.
Dubbed one of the most impressive monuments of the ancient world, the Hypogeum was built between 3600 and 2500 B.C.
It was still a work in progress, when the Neolithic people disappeared suddenly without a trace.
The purpose of the Hypogeum is still debatable. What is certain is that this "monument" was connected to the role of death. An air of mystery surrounds this underground temple that is spread over three levels.
For more info on this fascinating site, go to our Prehistoric Man: Hypogeum page here.
Perhaps the most evocative of all the Neolithic temples found on the Maltese islands, Ggantija were discovered in 1827.
The temples are home to a massive megalith that weighs around 55 tonnes!
Legend has it that giants built the Ggantija temples.
Get the full details on these impressive temples from our New Stone Age: Ggantija page here.
When it comes to traveling and sightseeing, we all have our own tastes and preferences. You may indeed not be the type to visit archeological sites when you're on vacation.
However, if your itinerary allows it, we suggest that you visit at least one of the Maltese Neolithic temples.
After all, it's not everyday that you get to boast that you've visited the world's oldest free standing structures!