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Maltese temples

15 August 2015

At http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/sunken-5000-year-ol… … found in Greece, a third millennium BC settlement on a beach on the Argolis coast. It was at a depth of 3m and covers an area around 3 acres. It was a fortified site, defended against invaders from the sea, with a defensive wall and round towers situated along its length. The presence of large quantities of stone tools and obsidian blades is also mentioned, as well as various buildings (in outline).

At http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/prehistoric-temple-… … is a post about Malta's prehistoric temple builders with evidence of solar alignments etc. Norwegian academic Tore Lomsdalen, author of 'Sky and Purpose in Prehistoric Malta: Sun, Moon and Stars at the Temple of Mnajdra' brings forth new evidence on these alignments. At the equinoxes (March and September) the rising Sun perfectly illuminates the central corridor of the South Temple (and so on). Specific orientations appear to be connected to ritual ceremonies during the solstices and equinoxes is the claim.

Ther Mnajdra complex was built in different stages, from the Ggantija period (3600-3000BC) and the Tarxien phase (3000-2500BC). Each extension  of the temple affected light penetration causing the builders to construct new altars or introduce orthostats (large upright stones) in order to ensure the specific features of the temple were illuminated. The alignments increased in sophistry over time.The Sun's movement through the year was recorded in vertical slits of light on the orthostats and the author then claims these were used for calendrical calculations.

Finally, he adds, to find the exact orientations of Mnajdra the temple builders may have used the star cluster known as the Pleiades. This possibly means ceremonies were held at night. He even thinks some the building work may have taken place at night, in order to account for the Pleiades aligment. Might the Pleiades have been the main focus of interest, rather than the Sun.

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