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Ta' Ħaġrat Temples

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Megalithic Temples of Malta: Ġgantija, Ħaġar Qim, Mnajdra, Ta' Ħaġrat, Skorba, Tarxien.*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ta' Ħaġrat Temples, Mġarr, Malta
State Party Malta Malta
Type Cultural
Criteria iv
Reference 132
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1980  (4th Session)
Extensions 1992
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

The Ta' Ħaġrat temple in Mġarr, Malta is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with several other Megalithic temples.[1] They are amongst the most ancient religious sites on Earth.[2] The larger Ta' Ħaġrat temple dates from the Ġgantija phase (3600-3200 BCE);[3] the smaller is dated to the Saflieni phase (3300 - 3000 BCE).[4]

LocationEdit

Ta' Ħaġrat is on the eastern outskirts of the village of Mġarr, roughly one kilometer from the Ta' Skorba temples.[5] Characteristics of the Ta' Ħaġrat façade resemble those in the Ta' Skorba complex.[6]

Temple ComplexEdit

The excavation of plentiful pottery deposits show that a village stood on the site and predates the temples themselves. This early pottery is dated to the Mġarr phase (3800-3600 BCE).[7]

Ta’ Hagrat is built out of lower coralline limestone, the oldest exposed rock in the Maltese Islands.[8] The complex contains two adjacent temples both of which are less formally planned than is usual in Maltese Neolithic temple design.[9] The smaller temple abuts the major one on the northern side.

The two parts are less regularly planned and smaller in size than many of the other neolithic temples in Malta.[10] Unlike other megalithic temples in Malta no decorated blocks were discovered; however a number of artifacts were found. Perhaps most intriguing is a scale model of a temple,[11] sculpted in globigerina limestone.

File:Modèle de temple Ta'Hagrat.jpg

The model is roofed and shows the typical structure of a Maltese temple including a trilithon façade, narrow-broad walling technique and upper layers of horizontal corbelling.[12]

Major TempleEdit

The Ġgantija phase temple is typically trefoil, with a concave façade opening onto a spacious semicircular forecourt. The façade contains a monumental doorway in the center and a bench at its base. [13] Two steps lead up to the main entrance and a corridor flanked by upright megaliths of coralline limestone. Three are placed on each side and support large hard-stone slabs.[14] The corridor beyond the entrance is paved with large stone blocks placed with great accuracy.[15]

File:Floor map - Ta' Ħaġrat Temples.svg

The corridor leads into a central torba court, radiating three semi-circular chambers. These were partially walled off at some time in the Saflieni phase;[16] pottery shards were recovered from the internal packing of this wall.[17] The apses are constructed with roughly-hewn stone walls and have a rock floor. Corbelling visible on the walls of the apses suggest that the temple was roofed.[18]

A small sculptured temple was discovered here.[19]

Minor TempleEdit

The Saflieni phase temple rests to the north and is six and a half meters long. It is entered through the eastern apse of the larger temple. Smaller stones have been used in its construction[20] and it exhibits irregularities in design considered archaic or provincial.[21]

ExcavationEdit

The site was excavated between 1923 and 1926 under the direction of Sir Temi Zammit, then Director of Museums. Further excavations were carried out in 1953. British archaeologist David Trump accurately dated the complex in the 1960s.[22]

RestorationEdit

Parts of the façade and doorway were reconstructed in 1937.[23]

CitationsEdit

  1. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/132
  2. http://www.otsf.org/
  3. http://www.heritagemalta.org/tahagrat.html
  4. http://www.heritagemalta.org/tahagrat.html
  5. Trump, Cilia, Malta Prehistory and Temples, p. 154 
  6. http://www.heritagemalta.org/tahagrat.html
  7. Trump, Cilia, Malta Prehistory and Temples, p. 155 
  8. http://www.semide-mt.org/documentation/Context/Physical%20factors_files/Geology.htm
  9. http://www.heritagemalta.org/tahagrat.html
  10. Żammit, Mayrhofer, The Prehistoric Temples of Malta and Gozo, p. 142 
  11. http://www.megalithics.com/europe/malta/mnajdra/tempmod1.htm
  12. Zammit T., "Ta Hagrat Megalithic Ruins at Mgarr, Malta" Bulletin of the Museum, Malta, I, i, 5, 1929.
  13. Trump, Cilia, Malta Prehistory and Temples, p. 154 
  14. "Maltavoyager.com - Articles". http://www.niumalta.com/vladi/neo/pages/skorba_malta_temples.html. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  15. http://www.heritagemalta.org/tahagrat.html
  16. Trump, Malta: An Archaeological Guide, p. 139 
  17. Żammit, Mayrhofer, The Prehistoric Temples of Malta and Gozo, p. 143 
  18. http://www.heritagemalta.org/tahagrat.html
  19. http://www.megalithics.com/europe/malta/mnajdra/tempmod1.htm
  20. Żammit, Mayrhofer, The Prehistoric Temples of Malta and Gozo, p. 142 
  21. Trump, Malta: An Archaeological Guide, p. 140 
  22. http://www.heritagemalta.org/tahagrat.html
  23. http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=10424

See alsoEdit

Coordinates: 35°55′13.3″N 14°22′09.1″E / 35.920361°N 14.369194°E / 35.920361; 14.369194 nl:Megalithische tempels van Ta' Ħaġrat ru:Та’ Хаджрат

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