October 7, 2012

Hagar Qim

Hagar Qim is a megalithic temple complex dating from the Ġgantija phase (3600-3200 BC). The Megalithic Temples of Malta are amongst the most ancient religious sites on Earth described by the World Heritage Sites committee as "unique architectural masterpieces." In 1992 UNESCO recognized Ħaġar Qim and four other Maltese megalithic structures as World Heritage Sites.

The lowest temple is astronomically aligned and thus was probably used as an astronomical observation and/or calendrical site. On the vernal and the autumnal equinox sunlight passes through the main doorway and lights up the major axis. On the solstices sunlight illuminates the edges of megaliths to the left and right of this doorway.
Although there are no written records to indicate the purpose of these structures, archaeologists have inferred their use from ceremonial objects found within them: sacrificial flint knives and rope holes that were possibly used to constrain animals for sacrifice (since various animal bones were found). These structures were not used as tombs since no human remains were found. The temples contain furniture such as stone benches and tables that give clues to their use.
Many artifacts were recovered from within the temples suggesting that these temples were used for religious purposes, perhaps to heal illness and/or to promote fertility.






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