The Ġgantija phase (3600–3200 BCE) owes its name to the Ġgantija Temples in Xaghra, Gozo. The Ġgantija phase is directly preceded by the Mġarr phase (3800-3600 BCE),[1] and is characterized by a change in the way the prehistoric inhabitants of Malta lived. The Ġgantija Phase evolved into the Saflieni and Tarxien phases (3000-2500 BCE),[1] named after the unique subterranean temple known as the Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni and the Tarxien Temples, respectively.

Ġgantija overviewEdit

File:Ggantija niches.jpg

The temples of Ġgantija are one of the Megalithic Temples of Malta and were first excavated in 1827 by John Otto Bayer. They are built with coralline limestone blocks and each temple contains five apses connected by a central corridor leading to an innermost trefoil section. The first temple is larger and contains a variety of features such as altars, relief carvings and libation holes. The second temple was built later and is devoid of such features. Also of interest is the corbelling technique evident on the inwardly inclined walls, suggesting that the temple was roofed. Burial in the Ġgantija Phase continues in the shaft and chamber tomb style established by the Żebbuġ phase (4100-3800 BCE)[1] culture.

Local folklore interpreting these gigantic structures, in particular those of Ġgantija, maintain they were built by giants; Ġgantija is a Maltese word meaning 'Place of the Giants'.[2]


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