Thursday, June 5

5000 Year Old Tarxien Temples Found In Malta By Farmers Ploughing Their Fields

Tarxien Temples, Malta

You know how it is - if you are a farmer that is - you are trying to plough one of your fields but keep striking great lumps of stone. You get a bit cheesed off about this after a while. But maybe it's not so bad when you eventually discover you have hit upon the remains of some ancient temples beneath your field.

Tarxien temple ruins Malta

And very old temples they proved to be, some built around 3600 BC - so that's over 5000 years ago. These are the Tarxien Temples of Malta - or what's left of them, first discovered in 1913 though they were still being excavated in the 1950s.

As you can see in the photo above some replica stones have also been included in the site, which is a shame. They are too square and exact and, for me, spoilt the feel and look of the place.

Walls of Tarxien Temples, Malta

Nevertheless it's interesting to visit. It is believed that the buildings were built over a long period from about 3600 BC, as previously mentioned, to around 2500 BC.

Tarxien Temples, Malta

The oldest remains are as shown in the photo below. These were built of smaller stones. The buildings were unfortunately damaged by the farmers with their ploughing.

Oldest remains at Tarxien Temples site Malta

Much larger stones were used for the later temples. The photo below shows the thickness of some of the floors.

Thickness of the floors at Tarxien Temples, Malta

The large boulders or stones weigh as much as an elephant, well that's what a sign states. But how heavy is an elephant? The theory is that these heavy stones were transported by rolling them on smaller round stones.

Tarxien Temples, Malta

A few dodgy new stones have been included in the next photo and for some reason they also used cement - which has had an adverse effect on the original stones.

Remains of Tarxien Temples Malta

But there are good things to see, like the well ...


... and some of the carvings.

Tarxien Temples Malta

Carved patterns at Tarxien Temples, Malta

More thorough excavations are now being carried out, so you never know what they may still come across.

Work being done at Tarxien Temples Malta

What was the purpose of these temples? This is the official line:

"Although we know little of the activities that took place within these buildings, they were clearly an important communal centre. The activities or rituals that took place here may have been of a religious, political and / or economic nature; however, following the sudden end of the temple culture the site was put to a very different use. During the early Bronze Age (after 2500 BC) the chambers of the Tarxien Temples were used for funerary purposes, being turned into a cremation cemetery."

We made our way to the Temples on a number 81 bus getting off at Paola. After we had seen all we wanted we got on the first bus that came along. We had no idea where it was headed but ended up in a lovely fishing village called Marsaxlokk. A good day out!

Photos: © Mike Perry

More Malta Posts:
The Cannon Went Off And Malta Turned Magical
The Maltese Fisherman Who Visited Heaven
The Billionaire And The Indian Empress In Malta Coincidences
A Pilgrimage To St Paul's Grotto In Rabat, Malta
Valletta: The City Built By The Knights of the Order of St John

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  1. From hitting rocks with a plough to THAT?!?!?! That's some place they unearthed.

    1. It does seem strange but being buried it protected the stones, which are sandstone.

  2. Suzie08:39

    Amazing, looks a great place to visit, also great pics (again).

    1. Thanks, I like this sort of stuff, thinking about how things must have been thousands of years ago,

  3. Wow! I'd never heard of these temples. These photos really capture the feel of the place! And I agree with Shadow..ploughing along and what a discovery.

    1. I'd never heard of them previously but Malta has a long history.