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AMYDON-EXETER CENTRE 113

   

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MALTA'S PREDILUVIAN CULTURE AT THE STONE-AGE TEMPLES

WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO HAGAR QIM

GHAR DALAM, CART-RUTS, IL-MISQA, IL-MAQLUBA

&

CREATION

© JOSEPH S. ELLUL 1988
Augmented with new material by the author - 2004.

THE ACTUAL HISTORY OF THE GREAT FLOOD ACCORDING TO GENESIS

7: 11. "In the six-hundredth year of the life of Noah, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day the springs [of water] of the Great Deep were broken, and the Floodgates of Heaven opened, and the rain fell on Earth for 40 days and 40 nights."

8:3. "And the waters started receding from the land, and began going down after 150 days" [= 5 months].

8:4. On the seventh month, on the seventeenth of the month, the Ark landed on the mountains of Ararat.

8:5. The waters kept receding and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains appeared [after 224 days].

8:6. Then, after another 40 days [264 days], Noah sent the RAVEN which kept going and coming for an undetermined number [but, when calculated, it amounts to 40] of days [304 days].

8:9. Later Noah sent out the Dove, which returned, owing to its not finding anywhere to rest its feet.

8:10-11. After another 7 days, Noah sent the Dove out again, which then brought back an Olive-leaf in her beak [311 days].

8:12. So Noah waited another 7 days [318 days], and then sent the Dove out again, but this time it didn't return.

8:13. At the beginning of the New Year, the first day of the first month, 318 days after the beginning of the Flood, the water dried up, yet the land was still watery.

8:14. Then, after another 57 days (1 month and 27 days later), the soil of the Earth was dry enough for man and animal to walk on it. So God gave the order to Noah to get out of the Ark and to release all the animals [318 + 57 = 375 - 365 = 10].

Noah stayed in the Ark for One Whole Year and Ten Days.

This is an exact account of what happened, as recorded in Genesis, with all the details taken from the Bible. Everything is so clear - for those who wish to understand. Confusion exists only in the minds of those who wish to be confused.

 

GHAR DALAM

(THE CAVE OF DARKNESS)

In remote and ancient times, millions of years ago, when Malta, whatever it was in those days, still had full rivers flowing down its valleys, long before the time of Earth's habitation by man [if not by hominids?], the story of Ghar Dalam began to take shape.

The story of this cave begins when a river, with lots of water flowing down through its valley, was passing over a long natural cave lying transversely below the bed of the river (Pic.52 - Fig.1).

Before proceeding with this explanation, one needs to understand that the rock in which Ghar Dalam and the whole surrounding valley itself are cut is Lower Coralline Limestone, very similar to granite.

As time passed, millions of years of it, owing to the water's erosion there came a time when the bed of the river broke into the [height of] the cave, thus forming an opening that became larger and larger with the deepening of the river (Fig.2).

Through this opening everything that was carried down along the bottom of the river above it inevitably had to fall down, and so became trapped inside this subterranean cave. Everything - from sand, mud, and boulders to the skeleton remains of every conceivable animal that lived in this region in those remote ages got trapped and mixed up inside this cave full of water. Several of the bones, or rather most of them, were dismembered far up the river and, by the time they eventually reached this cave, they had rolled over so much that their sides were rounded like pebbles well before they dropped down from the river bed above, and came to rest in this cave, where they were only recently found. [Cf. G. DESPOTT, Ghar Dalam Excavations, 1917.]

One curious thing is that few skulls, if any, were found among all the other bones. The reason for this is that the skull is made up of thin sheets of bone that fall to pieces very easily, if knocked about on a river-bed. So, by the time the skulls came to drop into this cave, they would have been broken up into their several parts, and the teeth would have come out of their sockets. This explains why many teeth and molars have been found, while skulls are rare.

While we are considering the question of molars, it is opportune to mention that two of these molars have given rise to a huge question-mark: Are they the molars of a human being? Or did they belong to some animal? An answer to that question could prove very important because, if these molars are human, then, if they were found below the surface and in the bone breccia, it would follow that man then lived alongside those animals.

However, if the molars were found instead on the surface of the deposit, then the human to whom they belonged may only have arrived on the scene in a comparatively recent era, because, as Sir Temi Zammit states in his general History of Malta: "The cave had been inhabited down to the Punic period, for traces of human occupation in the Bronze and Stone Ages were found."

This is a clear indication that this cave of Ghar Dalam was used by man during the historical era, which is not in itself a fact of any great importance.

But Sir Temi continues: "Under the soil hardened with STALAGMITIC masses are deposited the fossilised bones of extinct animals, some in their natural position, others worn into pebbles by the action of the water which for ages rolled them about."

According to Sir Temi, on top of the deposits of extinct animals, there lay a layer of soil "hardened with stalagmitic masses". But Stalactites and Stalagmites are not formed in hundreds or even thousands of years, but in millions of years. When the bones inside Ghar Dalam were carried there by the action of water flowing down through a very full river, it was in the time of the Ice-Ages, a time prior to human habitation, when millions of animals, several kinds of which are today extinct, were driven North and South by the changing climates of those times.

The list of extinct animals provided by Sir Temi in Appendix 1 to the 1st edition of his History of Malta mentions 14 mammals, 16 birds and 6 reptiles. This clearly shows that a detailed study of the remains in the different strata in the sediment inside Ghar Dalam would provide us with an enormous amount of information about the life that existed in the vast land about Malta in those very remote ages, when there was not even a Mediterranean Sea. The different strata of bone deposits, showing different kinds of animals that normally live under different climatic conditions, show that in those remote ages Malta passed from the hot climate of the elephant, hippopotamus and fresh-water tortoise to the cold temperatures of the deer, wolf, bear, stag, swan and other birds.

These animals came to Malta when the climatic conditions were suitable for them. They had the freedom to come and go whenever they liked, because the Malta of those days wasn't an island, but was part of a mammoth land-mass made up of the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa joined to the American land-mass by way of Alaska.

As mentioned above, the stalagmite on top of the hardened soil on the bone breccia show that millions of years had passed AFTER those bone deposits had settled down and dried out. It will then have taken millions of years more for the river water to erode through the top of the cave, and then (much later still) to pass further down below the level of the cave, thus allowing the deposits in the cave itself to become dry.

To bring this about, some 10 feet of granite rock had to be eroded by the water. That doesn't happen in just a few hundred years. There are also 30 more feet that were eroded below the cave, down to the bottom of the valley-floor. So, how many million years will it have taken the water to erode more than 40 feet from the top of the cave to the bottom of the valley? For that is how long ago it must have been when the contents of Ghar Dalam entered the cave and settled in it (Pic.52 - Fig.3).

Yet, what remains in this cave is only a small stray amount of what actually entered the cave from the river-bed immediately above, because the bulk of the sediment that was just under the river was, in its turn, carried away by the water, as the valley continued to deepen, to somewhere below the line of the bottom of the cave.

Although "Ghar Dalam" means "Cave of Darkness" this cave might be better named "Cave of Light" - because of the amount of light it can throw on the very remote past of this central portion of an AFRO-EURASIAN land-mass which was then even joined to the American land-mass via the remote Alaskan land-bridge of those days.

I visited Ghar Dalam durings the 1950's to see things for myself. On the walls of the museum were hung pictures showing prehistoric cave-men with clubs scaring mastodons and other wild animals into the muddy cave so that they would be trapped inside it. I didn't like that theory at all then, and I don't like it now. When I went down into the cave itself and examined the surroundings, the theory of the river that I have outlined above flashed into my mind. I explained it afterwards to my father, who was, of course, already familiar with the contents of the cave. He accepted this idea straight away. "Yes, that's what it is," he said to me."

On his next visit to the Valletta Museum my father explained my theory to the then Director, Doctor Baldacchino, who, it seems, was so pleased with it, that he started explaining it to others. Thus, this theory has come to be known as "The Baldacchino Theory".

Although this theory was developed during the 1950's, it was also very often only poorly understood, so much so, in fact, that after more than a decade, there were still "archæologists" who dated Ghar Dalam to round about 3,800 B.C.

Today science has made great leaps forward in determining the ages of things. Although the different methods used, including Carbon-14 testing, are not yet perfect, it would be quite possible to test quite a lot of the bones that have been found in different strata inside Ghar Dalam. The results would certainly throw a lot of light on the ages of the different strata from which these bones have been so painstakingly taken and labelled.

[Webmaster-editor's note: According to A. Mifsud & S. Mifsud, Dossier Malta - Evidence for the Magdalenian (Malta: Proprint Co. Ltd., 1997, 169) - "Approximately 15,000 to 18,000 years ago, humans roamed the Maltese islands together with Pleistocene Siculo-Maltese deer and the occasional pachyderm." It is also important to remember that Sicily's geographical links were with North Africa, not Southern Italy.]

 

THE CART-RUTS

**Besides their buildings, those pre-diluvian people left us a network of cart-ruts dug in the surface rock of Malta. This fact shows that they were regular travellers, and also that they travelled regularly and repeatedly over the same routes; they didn't just wander about. These ruts in the solid rock show that they have been so dug that wheels could run along them (Pic.45).

Sir Temi says about the cart-ruts: "The only reasonable explanation is that the track was originally cut for and not by the wheels. The engineers of those days, instead of making a road, as the Romans would have done, by filling up the rugged, uneven surface with a loose material, traced a furrow in the rock along the projected track on the principle of the modern tramway."

Some commentators suggest that these ruts are of Roman origin. Sir Temi's response is that "in several cases the shafts of the well-tombs were cut across the cart-ruts, thus proving not only that these were pre-Punic, but also that they had already fallen into disuse in Punic times."

To this I add that there are cart-ruts near the Ghar Hassan limits of Hal Far and going towards the sheer cliff there. These are now underneath aircraft-dispersal areas. Local fishermen and Bradley the historian mention such cart-ruts on Filfla islet. Near Hagar Qim there are several sets, one of which is the one in the photo, about 300 yards East of the ruins and going towards them. There are also cart-ruts on top of Ras il-Pellegrin, a South-West cliff near Gnejna Bay. These ruts go to the very edge of the cliff, with about a hundred feet sheer drop towards the sea. Why would the Romans need these cart-ruts in these very strange places?

There are those, including Miss Celia Topp, who say that "the tracks are nowhere found in the vicinity of any known temple". But how could anybody find any cart-ruts near any temple, if the land near the temples is now all cultivated or otherwise developed? Nobody has ever searched the ground systematically to map out all surviving cart-ruts. All the known ruts have been stumbled into on the bare rocks, and these ruts are now so worn out that no one can do any detailed study based on them.

In the 1930's my father and I used to clean out two sets of ruts which he had discovered, so as to be able to show them to tourists and other interested people. One of these sets, the one in the picture (Pic.46 and Pic.47), is in a field about 300 yards to the East of Hagar Qim and runs in a West by North direction towards the temples.

Another set, made up of a junction of two pairs of ruts, is about a hundred yards further away, in an unused part of the road leading to the temples of Hagar Qim. But although my father used to clean them, they have since been allowed to fill up again.

The cart-ruts near Hagar Qim were discovered by my father in a field under his care. These ruts were covered with soil, and so have been perfectly preserved from weathering. That is why I have been able to make such a detailed study of their characteristics.

The system used in the digging of these ruts is of the same type as that used by the Hagar Qim people to cut channels in blocks of stone, so that they could then cut these up to the desired size. This shows that the ruts are contemporaneous with the temples.

If the ruts had been cut by wheels, their depth would be in principle uniform - and the bottom would only go up and down in keeping with the formation of the surface of the rock. But the ruts have been cut through the rock, to make the bottom of each rut as level and straight as possible. Where the ruts pass along a slanting hillside, a deep rut has been cut on the higher part while very little has been cut on the low side, as our sketch shows (Pic.45); this was done so that the cart would remain level when passing along the ruts.

This proves without any doubt that these ruts must have been cut by tools to make a clearly defined way for the wheels to run along, a kind of tram-lines made of stone instead of steel, just as Sir Temi says. Where the ruts are in a straight line they are narrow, but when they come to a bend, even a slight one, they become wide to permit for the rubbing of the wheels and to prevent their getting jammed. Those people certainly used wheels in these ruts, because no other form of transport, no type of sledge would fit them.

From the form of the ruts I have deduced that the wheels had to be of stone in the form of a bi-convex lens with a central bore to take the axle. When fitted with an axle of hardwood lubricated with the fat of one of the animals they used to hunt, such wheels would have been very efficient. I suspected that some of these stone wheels must have survived, but that they had been mistaken for hand-mill grinding-stones. During the 1950's I made enquiries at the British Museum and also at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza in Milan, but nobody knew of any such stone wheels. I should explain that one difference between a grinding-stone and a wheel of this sort is that the bore of the wheel must be perfectly cylindrical in shape, while that of a grinding-stone is just an ordinary hole of no regular shape.

There is a very interesting groove at the bottom of the ruts. The rut is not worn out uniformly over the whole of the bottom. Although the base of the rut is 4½" wide - and sometimes wider, on the side of the inclination of the track there is a groove, about 2½" wide, and about ½" deeper than the rest of the base of the rut. This extra depth is in the part worn out through the use of the rut by the rim of the wheel. It shows that the rim of the wheel was about 2" wide, and not more. If the wheels used had been made of wood, they would not have worn away the stone in this way.

All the characteristics of these ruts rule out the use of sledges. Sledges of the Eskimo type would not turn round a bend with the grooves on the inside of the bend. A Red Indian sledge would not be able to move through the deep and steep ruts with the groove on the inside of the rut. That is why the only conclusion has to be wheels.

After contacting the museums of London and Milan with no positive result, I wrote in a newspaper article on Cart-Ruts: "It does not appear that any such wheels have been found anywhere in the world." But then, some years later, I discovered the remnant of a cart-wheel lying in the forecourt of the Tarxien Temples. It is made of lava (Pic.44).

It is a worn-out wheel, about 6" thick, and of a slightly oval shape, measuring 16" × 13", with a 3½" cylindrical bore. The guides used to show it to visitors, describing it as a grinding-stone.

At last, we know the shape of the wheel, and what it was made of.

Further investigation of the ruts has revealed that when those road-builders found a gap in the ground with no solid rock on its surface, they filled in that gap with some other stone or with other material that was not as solid as the rock. In time, this filling gave way somewhat under the weight of the cart, and so the edge of the solid rock became worn out in a downward curve.

There are those who claim that no animals were used on these ruts, because, they say, there are no middle-track signs between the ruts. This is because they have noticed the tracks of modern carts, where these pass over beaten earth. They have not examined those tracks that pass over solid rock, where animal-hooves shod with steel shoes and nails don't even scratch the surface. The ruts in one of our pictures (Pic.47) are, in fact, regularly crossed by a modern steel-shod animal and cart, but the only tell-tale signs left between the ruts are notches deliberately made with a pick-axe, so that the animal doesn't slip when pulling the cart over this rock.

Now, if a modern steel-shod animal doesn't even scratch the solid rock with its steel nails and shoes, how could an unshod prehistoric animal make the slightest mark on the hardened crust of the rock with hooves which of their nature don't make any scratches at all?

If those prehistoric people had animals they sometimes sacrificed and killed for food, they certainly also had animals to work for them.

I mentioned earlier that the age of the cart-ruts is the same as that of the Neolithic Temples that were destroyed by the Great Flood caused by the opening of the Gibraltar gap caused by a fault or rift-valley running from Gibraltar up to the southern coast of Malta. Witness to this is the sheer drop of the cliffs of more than a hundred feet into the sea. The cart-ruts on Ras il-Pellegrin which go at right angles to the cliff up to its very edge show that these cart-ruts were made BEFORE those sheer cliffs were formed.

These are my conclusions from my observations of perfectly preserved cart-ruts found near Hagar Qim:

1. The ruts were cut by tools and not worn out by the wheels. The cart-ruts were made in order to construct a regular route along which wheeled vehicles would travel smoothly, like a tram-car.

2. They were cut to different depths to level up sloping ground, so that the vehicle would not slope to either side (Pic.45 - Fig.2).

3. They were cut wider where there was a bend in the road so that the wheel would not get jammed (Fig.2).

4. The bottom of the rut was about 4½" wide and sometimes (at the bends) even wider. But only about 2½" of it have been worn deeper by about ½" due to the rolling of the rim of the wheel inside this groove (Fig.1).

5. The undulating surface of the rock does not affect the smoothness of the bottom of the rut. In some bumpy surfaces there are 15" from the top of the rock to the bottom of the rut, while nearby there may be only 6" or even less (Fig.1 and Fig.2).

6. Sledges could not have been used, because of the reasons mentioned above.

7. They used wheels made of lava in the form of a bi-convex lens, about 6" thick in the middle and 2" thick at the rim. The wheel had a diameter of at least 3' (about 1 metre) and a central bore of 3½" diameter for an axle of hardwood smeared with animal fat.

8. These cart-ruts belong to the Pre-Diluvian Stone-Age era when the Mediterranean area was still mostly land, before the South coast of Malta subsided.

9. The gauge or the distance between the ruts from centre to centre is 4' 8". This is a most stable gauge discovered by those people, and this gauge is still used today by our modern railways (Fig.2).

Webmaster's note: Although Mich�l Weber, limiting himself to one place of decimals, has rounded down this figure to "ca. 1,4 m" on page 64 of his 1994 German translation of Joseph's text, in both editions Figure 2 more correctly expresses this gauge in metric terms as 142 cm. On page 34 of the 1993 reprint of the 1990 second edition of his Malta - An Arch�ological Guide David H. Trump had still given "1.30 metres" as "the gauge, i.e. the distance separating the two ruts of a single pair", but, interestingly, on page 36 of his revised 2000 edition this "average" gauge of his has become "1.41 metres", which is, indeed, the "average" between 1.40 and 1.42. Whatever the gauge, it cannot correctly be determined by averaging out its normal size and its various invariably greater widths at bends in the system. As to establishing the precise average width of all known cart-ruts on Malta and Gozo, nothing remotely approaching the required preliminary labour of detailed measurement has ever been attempted.

10. What has been said above isn't just a theory. It is all based on proof obtained from solid facts that nobody can deny.

[I recently discovered that one of the practical uses the ancients had for these ruts. Two sets of ruts are going towards the face of a surface quarry with two different layers of rock visible, one layer being about 8" (20 cm) thick, the other about 24" (60 cm) thick. The ruts here were not being used to carry blocks of stone, but to transport supplies (and perhaps even the workers themselves) between this quarry and their place of work, no doubt together with such tools as the heavy crowbar-like wooden logs they employed to move stone-blocks about, once these had been cut and readied. These particular sets of ruts are near a quarry-face on the top of Girgenti hill going towards Clapham Junction.

 

MALTA'S PREHISTORIC GENIUS

This article, which could be considered as a very short synopsis of the highlights in this book, was first published in Illinois, U.S.A., in the January-February 1983 edition of Ancient Skies, which is the Official Logbook of the Ancient Astronaut Society, an international organisation whose members are very much interested in archæology.

By the term "pre-historic" I am referring to the period before the Biblical Flood which covered the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. This flood has left its stigma in the surrounding areas as a layer of virgin silt with evidence of other civilizations below the silt. This was found by Professor & Lady Woolley in Mesopotamia and also by Sir Temi Zammit on Malta and in the South of France. These layers of silt were eight feet deep in Mesopotamia, three feet on Malta and six feet in France.

Besides the silt, there is also evidence of an enormous wave of water coming directly from the West and throwing huge blocks of stone towards the East. A careful examination of the stone ruins of the Temple at Hagar Qim on Malta reveals how huge stone building-blocks have been lifted up and thrown against the tops of other stones in the building. Hagar Qim is situated on a high promontory near the edge of the Mediterranean Sea on the south-western edge of the main island of Malta.

Therefore, I conclude that the Temple of Hagar Qim was constructed before the Biblical Flood and that the flood was caused by the abrupt opening of the high-towering land-ridge that formerly linked Gibraltar with Tangier, permitting the waters of the Atlantic Ocean to rush into the Mediterranean depression, some 6,000 feet below.

What did the people of Malta, thousands of years ago, know about construction engineering?

They knew that the strongest type of construction was the oval one, as shown by all the rooms in the various temples. They knew how to construct the horizontal arch, which we today use for building water-dams.

They began building a dome by the corbelling method, but then changed to the arched dome we use today.

They used mortar to plaster unwanted crevices in their stone buildings. The mortar has since petrified into stone joining huge blocks together.

They were wizards in acoustic construction. At Hagar Qim they used slabs 4" thick to reflect sound to make it pass through a hole in the wall about one foot in diameter. At the Hypogeum (underground) they constructed a recessed amplifier built into the stone wall of a room which will make the human voice reverberate throughout the entire vast temple of three storeys dug out of the solid rock beneath ground-level.

All the main temples of Malta were built in astronomical alignment either to the Sun's Equinox or to one of the Solstices, or to the Major Standstill of the Moon.

They constructed a network of "cart-ruts" cut into the hard rocky surface of the land, which they used for regular travel. In my opinion, these so called "ruts" were not made by the repeated action of vehicles running in the same place, but were systematically cut into the rock to form a track-system in which wheeled vehicles ran.

Many years ago my father and I excavated two sets of cart-ruts to show to tourists and other interested persons. One of the sets is in a field only about 300 years to the East of Hagar Qim, although it has since been claimed that such tracks are nowhere to be found in the vicinity of any known temple.

Another set of ruts, made up of a junction of two pairs of ruts, is about one hundred yards further away in an unused part of the road leading to Hagar Qim. Although my father used continually to clean out these ruts, they invariably soon filled up again with dirt.

These cart-ruts near Hagar Qim are under soil and perfectly preserved. From observations of the ruts, I have deduced that they date back to the Stone-Age period and belong to the times of Hagar Qim and contemporaneous buildings on Malta. This means that people in those days regularly travelled over these established routes and were not just roaming about.

This system of ruts was a kind of primitive tram-lines, and must have been dug by tools to make a well defined way for the wheels of the vehicles to turn in. I refer to wheels, because the characteristics of the ruts all point to the use of wheels. The axles would have had a clearance of at least 15 inches with wheels about 3 feet in diameter, in the form of a bi-convex lens with a rim about 2½ inches wide. Although otherwise similar in appearance to a grinding-stone, these wheels would also have had a very well polished central bore. I have since found a remnant of a cart-wheel made of lava stone lying in an archæological site.

In further examining the ruts near Hagar Qim, I noticed that the bottom of the ruts has a peculiar shape. It is not worn out uniformly, but at the base of the rut there is about a 2½"-wide groove about ½" deep, running along the rut. This groove is on the side of the inclination of the track. The width of the groove indicates the width of the rim of the wheel which ran in the track.

It has been suggested that the people on Malta used heavy sledges for transportation, and that the sledges made the ruts through continual use. This must be ruled out, because the sledges could not turn in a bent rut - and many of the ruts do bend. Most of them are, in fact, curved to some degree; very few are perfectly straight. Also, sledges could not have made the strange indentations at the bottom of the ruts to which reference has already been made.

These are my conclusions based on an examination of perfectly preserved ruts:

1. The ruts were constructed with tools to a desired shape and depth for a particular type of wheeled vehicle to travel in.

2. They have been cut to different depths to level off sloping ground, so that the vehicle would not tilt to either side.

3. They were cut wider where there was a bend in the road.

4. Where the bottom of the rut was normally about 4½" wide, about 2½" were worn deeper through vehicular use.

5. In some places there are about 15" from the bottom of the ruts to the top.

There are cart-ruts literally all over the main island of Malta, some go right into the sea. Also, I have discovered ruts going to the very edge of a cliff with a sheer drop of 100 feet to the sea. These observations indicate that the ruts were made before Malta became an island.

Webmaster's note: In his Malta - An Arch�ological Guide (revised edition, 2000, pp. 35, 48 & 60), David H. Trump states that Malta became an island some "5,000,000" years ago. He also reiterates his long-standing conviction that Malta's cart-ruts date from "the later Bronze Age, a period covering many centuries." However, he readily concedes that "arch�ologists frequently have to reassess their interpretations drastically."

Mr. Ellul is an amateur archæologist and a life-long resident of Malta. His address is Hagar Qim House, 49 St. Catherine Street, Zurrieq ZRQ 06, Malta. Members of the Ancient Astronaut Society who took part in the Society's expedition to Malta in November 1982 are grateful to Mr. Ellul for conducting them through the ruins of the Temple at Hagar Qim and to the nearby cart-ruts.

The preceding paragraph represents a spontaneous and unsolicited comment by the editorship of Ancient Skies.

 

MEDITERRANEAN BASIN CATASTROPHE

First published in Catastrophism and Ancient History (Los Angeles, U.S.A., January 1984)

Malta, an island in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, is studded with Megalithic temples of the Neolithic era. The most important of these are Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, Ggantija and Tarxien. (Ggantija lies on the sister island of Gozo.) All these temples had to be excavated from the debris that had fallen on them from their own superstructure. This simple fact shows that all of them were destroyed by some cataclysm that left only the heavier blocks at the base, while throwing down all the superstructure - which also consisted of very heavy stone blocks.

A more minute study of the temple of Hagar Qim has revealed that all the fallen stone travelled in one and the same direction. Blocks of stone 3 metres long and 50 to 70 centimetres thick landed some 10 metres away and piled up on other blocks resting above ground-level. These blocks formed part of the western wall, which has completely disappeared, owing to being thrown inside the temple.

When one examines the eastern wall one sees the opposite situation. The stone blocks which rested on top of this wall were all thrown out of the temple, but in the same direction - towards the East. Although the line of this wall faces S.E., the blocks of stone were all hurled directly towards the East. The huge block forming the lintel of the main doorway, measuring 3 metres square and 60 centimetres thick, was thrown over towards its eastern corner, on which it landed, splintering it. Today, all these blocks of stone that had fallen from the eastern wall have been replaced on top of the wall, during the 1950's.

The people of Hagar Qim used mortar to cover up unwanted holes or crevices. Some of this mortar or cement has joined some of the fallen blocks and petrified itself into hard stone. This fact reveals that when the temple crumbled, it was under water for some time, so that the mortar had time to dissolve, settle down under water, and then, when dry again, become hard and subsequently petrified. Had the mortar not fallen under water it would have crumbled into dust and remained so, without sticking to anything.

All this is proof that, when Hagar Qim and its contemporaneous temples were destroyed, they yielded to some enormous watery wave that came from the West and then remained covering the land for a long period. What was the origin of this gigantic inundation in the days of Hagar Qim?

At that time the Mediterranean was not the sea as we know it today. The island of Malta was so much larger that some of its wonderful cart-ruts either go out to the bottom of the sea or even off the sheer edge of the cliff dropping about 20 metres towards the sea at Ras il-Pellegrin, on Malta's S.W. coast. The Mediterranean consisted of only two or perhaps three fresh-water lakes, one in the East in the Ionian and Herodotus Abyssal Plains, and another one or two in the western basin of the Sardinian and Balearic Abyssal Plain.

What today are the Straits of Gibraltar were in those days a high-towering land-ridge, from which, according to Genesis (7:11) there flowed down streams of water that percolated through its crevices, with the Atlantic (in Genesis called "The Great Deep") about 2000 metres above the Mediterranean depression. A large earthquake then caused a rift valley that made this Gibraltar high land-ridge subside, continuing the rift along the Algerian Basin, the Algerian Tyrrhenian Trough, and into the Malta Trough. This Malta trough is evidenced by the sheer cliffs of Malta's southern coast, with an abrupt drop of about 30 metres with another 10 fathoms' depth of sea.

With the subsidence of the Gibraltar high ridge the Atlantic ocean, with the waters of all the other oceans behind it, rushed through the gap, flooding and sweeping everything before it. One must try to imagine it - there are no words available adequately to describe the enormous on-rush of water that then swept over Europe, the western half of Asia, and the whole of North Africa - almost all the then-known world.

When this water covered the land, before it receded, it left its mark: a covering of silt or water-deposited sand over all the land. In Mesopotamia, to where most of the sand was carried, it left a depth of 3 metres, found by Sir Leonard Wooley. In Malta, which lies in the middle of the wave's path, 1 metre of sand was discovered by Sir Temi Zammit and my father when excavating the Tarxien Temples, while in southern France 2 metres were discovered. At Xari Suste, Mesopotamia, a whole town was found buried under sand, with tables ready for meals and skeletons in sleeping positions. The archæologists commented that a civilization had vanished abruptly for no apparent reason. It had to be the Gibraltar wave that came so suddenly.

This cataclysm surely had its effects all around the world, where inhabitants lived mostly along the seashore. An enormous seismic wave surely affected the entire Atlantic seaboard, especially the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea - just opposite Gibraltar. Even the Pacific and Indian Ocean felt its effects. It is no wonder the story of the flood is narrated, though in different forms, all around the world.

The dating of this catastrophe, caused by the collapse of the Gibraltar high ridge, is very important. There were several hypotheses until Carbon-14 was used, and we must hope that we are now near a proper date. When Fernand Navarra claimed to have brought bits of wood from Noah's Ark from Mount Ararat, the wood was Carbon-14 tested and dated as 5000 years old. When materials from Malta's Neolithic temples were Carbon-14 tested by Cambridge expert Colin Renfrew, they were also, according to Dr. Tancred Gouder, curator of Malta's archæological remains, found to be 5000 years old. Many human and animal bones found inside the Neolithic temples, including a human skull at Hagar Qim and others in the Hypogeum at Hal Saflieni in Paola belong to the same era. Carbon-14 tests have shown reasonable dates for what we can now consider as some of our human world's earliest mysteries.

 

IL-MAQLUBA

(THE OVERTURNED)

On the way to Hagar Qim, if one passes along the Qrendi by-pass road, one comes to an open space with houses on the right, carob trees to the front, and a small chapel to the left. This chapel is known locally as "San Matthew tal-Maqluba Church" and it is, as one can see, situated in the hollow of a shallow valley (Pic.50).

This valley starts from the top of a plateau or "Gwejdja" beginning near San Niklaw tal-Merhla Church close by the World-War-II Qrendi Strip (an emergency landing-strip for fighter-planes), and coming down in a slow slope and open valley of cultivated and fertile fields, passing along this back side of Qrendi village till it comes near this small chapel, built just on the verge of one side of the valley.

This small church, rather old though it is, is not alone. A very small cubicle is attached to the back corner of the main building on its left-hand side. This cubicle is neither more nor less than another church, much smaller and also very much older than the bigger chapel to which it is now attached. It is also dedicated to the Apostle, Saint Matthew.

This chapel dates back to the Norman era. It has an altar inside a small niche with a carving in the shape of a sea-shell. On the altar is a very elaborate and interesting statue in terracotta, representing Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. This chapel is so small that it could accommodate at most about eighty persons seated on small benches. It is of a type of which several still exist, scattered over Malta.

This chaplet is said to be the second, if not the very first of its kind built in Malta, and such chapels are held to be the first churches dedicated to the Christian Faith that were built after the termination of Arab rule by Count Roger the Norman, who, it is said, also established the colours of the Maltese flag. Count Roger came to Malta in 1090, which is almost 300 years before the foundering of Maqluba. So, one can easily appreciate why it is believed that this small Norman chapel was built long before that fateful collapse. Otherwise, one would be compelled to accept the idea of a church having been deliberately built on the very verge of an almost vertical cliff-edge.

Behind this church, on the left, begins the valley proper that continues on its way to meet another branch of the same valley, known as "Wied Babu", that goes along this side of Zurrieq, and then continues down in a very steep-sided gorge towards the sea, where it comes out near the famous "Blue Grotto".

In fact, the road on the right of the church takes you up a hill known as "Tal-Hotba" (The Hump), and then goes down again, leading you to Wied Zurrieq, from where you could take a boat to the Blue Grotto.

About 100 yards away to the back of this chapel there is a big [oval] pit of a size that would easily accommodate the huge Mosta church. Its sides are perfectly perpendicular, so much so, that if anything fell from the top it would fall straight down to the bottom. [Its diameters are about 100 metres long and 60 metres wide; it is about 30 metres] (100 feet) deep. At the bottom the soil is now cultivated, and there are quite a number of fruit-trees growing there.

By tradition, several legends are narrated about what happened to Maqluba, and there is much that is true at the heart of these various stories. It is said that the surface of Maqluba suddenly collapsed from being at the neighbouring ground-level into its present condition as a deep pit. Let us see how this may have happened.

The rock at Maqluba is of a kind called Upper Coralline Limestone, part of which dissolves by contact with water. It seems to have happened that the rock here contained a very large proportion of this dissolving type of stone (Pic.49). In this part of the valley there was, and there still exists, a natural tunnel through which water could seep very fast into the ground and, perhaps, end somewhere in the sea, which is not so far away. During some periods of very heavy rain the Maqluba gets filled up with water to above the tops of the trees growing inside it. Yet it takes only two days for all this water to disappear. This proves that a tunnel of some sort actually exists.

Water seeping through this dissolving rock for millions of years will have reduced the bottom of this entire area to the condition of a rickety sponge, until the time arrived for this sponge to finally collapse. Quite naturally, this collapse caused a commotion all over Malta, especially in the vicinity of il-Maqluba. The collapse most probably occurred during a heavy rainstorm which caused a huge amount of water to rush down into the valley and into the crevasses in the already weak rock below the surface, and this brought about the collapse of the surface of il-Maqluba.

Our picture (Pic.49) shows how deeply the rock in the wall at Maqluba has eroded, and this very clearly explains why the surface rock earlier collapsed under its own weight.

It is said that when this collapse occurred there was an entire village over the Maqluba. This implies that when disaster struck, there were people living in the surrounding area, a fact that can easily be proved. If one walks down from beside the church, passing between the trees, one soon arrives at the very edge of the existing pit. Here, to the right, one can see a kind of large shell forming a slight concave depression with a smooth covering of dark plaster (Pic.48). This is known as "Porcellana" and was used prior to the invention of cement for the sealing or water-proofing of reservoirs for water. This concave stone is about one-sixth of a water-well that used to be here before the cataclysm; the other five-sixths of this well must, quite obviously, have fallen down into the pit with the rest of the surrounding rock. This clearly shows that, when the place all fell down, this area was already inhabited by people, although one ought not to imagine that any large number of village-houses had ever actually been built on top of what is now just a gaping hole.

A village is mentioned in the legends, as I have said. But what exactly was 'a village' in those days? One shouldn't imagine the type of village one sees nowadays, such as Qrendi nearby. In those days a village consisted simply of a few farmhouses, about 500 yards away from each other and scattered over a wide area, about half a mile wide. One would have needed to shout hard, whenever someone dwelling in one farmhouse wanted to make himself heard by anyone in another. The population of such a village was, indeed, so small that it could fairly comfortably be accommodated in the smaller and older chapel of St. Matthew I mentioned above.

In the days before the Knights of St. John came to Malta there were several such villages about the island, even the names of some of which are no longer remembered. Hal-Lew passes down this valley, while near its source, around San Niklaw tal-Merhla between Siggiewi and Qrendi, there once existed Hal-Kbir (Hal-Cabiro or Hal Grande), through which passed the "Piccolo Soccorso" (Tiny Relief) during the Great Siege of 1565. Other villages, like Hal Tartarni, Hal Muxi, Hall Milleri, Hal Imriehel, have left us their names, which are still the names of identifiable locations today, but there are several others even the names of which have been now entirely forgotten, even though they are still mentioned by historians writing about the times of the Great Siege of 1565.

From this we may conclude that when il-Maqluba collapsed, there cannot have been more than one farmhouse occupying that site and, in my opinion, there never was even one farmhouse there, because it would have been a very crazy idea to build a house for oneself at the bottom of a valley, a place where, every time it rains, one runs the risk of being carried away by the rushing waters.

Yet one can appreciate from all that has been said that there was nothing fictitious about the collapse itself, which, as a matter of fact, is said to have occurred in about the year A.D. 1,343.

Notwithstanding the above, some people, ignorant of the facts, persist in their belief that Maqluba collapsed before any human habitation of these parts.

Also, as invariably happens, one continues to meet up with various elaborations of this essentially true story, several features having been added to it for the sake of embellishment. One sometimes hears it said that there still exists a Nun's house which, miraculously, did not fall into the pit! This is a kind of small cave within the face of the precipice. According to this version of the story, the Maqluba fell because the people living on top of it were bad people, but the Nun's house was spared because, of course, she was a very pious woman. Nuns, however, did not exist in Malta in those days, and even if they had existed, one would not have found any of them living in caves - a cottage, at the very least, is what any Nun would have required. [Editor's note: There is also no truth at all in the claim that an angry giant or a mighty magician plucked up out of the present-day Maqluba pit what is now the nearby Mediterranean island of Filfla and hurled it into the depths of the sea!]

Such is the whole story of "Il-Maqluba" - both real and fictitious.

[Later I read a report in an old history-book about a series of terrifying calamities occurring in several successive years with the result that everyone then felt the end of the world had arrived. From 1337 until 1356, a period that includes 1343, the date of Maqluba's collapse, many fearful signs were witnessed on land, in the air and, indeed, throughout the sky. In 1337 a comet with a very long tail was seen, and there was plague for the next three years, brought on by swarms of giant locusts. Then, in 1348, a considerable earthquake swallowed several mountains into the ground. The air became so heavy that people felt they were choking. Fog was thick and fearsome. Many large stars appeared to be rushing about the skies. These were the years when Europe was cruelly afflicted by the scourge of the Black Death, which took the lives of 25,000,000 people, including one third of Britain's then total population. A large earthquake destroyed the Swiss city of Basel in 1356. With all that happening (and, no doubt, various other associated phenomena that contemporaries were too terrified and too preoccupied to record), no wonder people though the end of the world was approaching. The Maqluba collapse and Malta's devastation by giant locusts then were, so to speak, local echoes of disasters that then pervaded the whole of Europe�]

 

THE STORY OF CREATION AS NARRATED IN THE BIBLICAL BOOK OF GENESIS

So that one may understand well the Story of CREATION as narrated by Moses in Genesis, one has to imagine Moses as a human who was seeing all that was happening, and then writing down all that he saw. Naturally, Moses saw all this in visions every ONE of which lasted ONE WHOLE DAY, and that is why the author calls them "DAYS" (YOM-JUM-DAY in Hebrew-Maltese-English).

GOD could not have shown to Moses something unreal. So ALL that was written by Moses is the TRUTH, the whole SCIENTIFIC TRUTH. [Editor's note: It is noteworthy that Joseph S. Ellul nowhere either clarifies or explicitly attempts to justify his fairly frequent use of the terms "truth" and "scientific". These are, however, explored and discussed at some length on several other pages within this website. Cf., for example, Doctor J. D. Solomon's The Mind's Ear or my own Voice in the Darkness.]

As for those who think otherwise, it is because they cannot understand it. The fault lies not with G-d nor with Moses, but with those who cannot or do not wish to understand and accept what the Bible tells us.

THE WORD "DAY - YOM - JUM"

The word YOM could have no meaning in the universe, because every planet has a different length of day of its own, i.e., the day of the Moon is 29 days of ours, the day of Jupiter is just 10 hours, while that of Mercury is 88 days. And besides, how could there be a YOM-DAY at the beginning of Creation, when the "Earth was yet dark and void over the surface of the sea"?

From this one has to understand that for Moses the word YOM meant just the length of the vision during his own time on Earth, and not some length of time in the universe, where there can be no night.

For a better understanding of what happened during the period of ONE YOM, we could taken an example which 500 years ago would have been utterly incomprehensible. Today, we can see on a screen visions of something that may have taken place thousands of miles away and at some very different period in time. We can also watch a cine-film of a story that took several years to accomplish, and yet we can see it all happening in less than three hours. Sometimes films on Nature that may have taken some 10 years or more to produce, are shown to us on a screen in much less than an hour. While such things could not be imagined just 500 years ago, we are today in quite a good position for us to understand how G-d could show visions to Moses - and certainly much better ones than today's film-producers enable us to watch on our screens, wonderful visions of the whole process of Creation (and of the Flood, etc.) which may have taken millions of years to evolve, even though the VISIONS Moses had of all these events, only lasted for SIX DAYS.

The text of GENESIS

v.1: In the beginning G-d created heaven and earth.

v.2: And the earth was naked and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

v.3: And G-d said: Be light made. And light was made (see note below).

v.4: And He divided the light from the darkness.

* One day.

v.6: And G-d said: Let there be a firmanent (separation) made amidst the waters,

v.7: And G-d made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from those that were above the firmanent.

 

AN EXPLANATION

1. In the beginning G-d created all the universe including the Earth, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars.

2. The Earth was still perfectly round with the condensed sea-water covering all the surface of the Earth. With the thick fog above the water, the Sun's light coud not penetrate the fog.

3. After millions of years, the fog so thinned that the light of the Sun could penetrate as on a foggy day without anyone seeing the Sun.

4. So now there could be DAY and NIGHT, and EVENING and MORNING.

* The author was shown up to here during the first DAY of his visions.

6-7. Now the mist rose from the waters and left a layer of clear air to separate the mist above from the waters below. Over the sea-waters one could see for a long distance, although neither the land nor the Sun could be seen as yet. "Firmament" means "Separation" in Semitic languages.

Note on Verse 3: "Be light made." - Today, everybody knows that the Sun has been in existence for many millions of years. Yet on the surface of the planet Venus the light of the Sun has not yet arrived, because that planet is so hot that all the water on its surface is still in vapour form and so thick that the rays of the Sun cannot penetrate. So, Venus is still under the conditions in which our planet-Earth once was, as described in verse 2 above.

If this description is not scientifically correct, I don't know what could be considered as scientific for certain people. Could it be perhaps calling water H2O?

v.8: �the second day.

v.9: G-d also said: Let the waters that are under the heaven (separation), be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear�

v.11: And G-d said: Let the Earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed�

v.13: � the third day

v.14: And G-d said: Let there be lights in the firmament (separation) of Heaven, to divide the day and the night (the Sun, the Moon, the stars).

This was the vision of the second Day.

As the Earth cooled and shrank, the crust of the earth started to wrinkle like an old potato, and the water went into the low parts leaving the high parts as dry land.

Now, the dry land had enough of water, light and warmth, and so over-flowed with growth, although the Sun could not as yet be seen.

End of vision of the third day.

When the layer of high mist or clouds started to break up, it left patches of clear sky (firmanent) through which, now, the Sun, the Moon and the stars could be seen for the first time, although they had long ago been created, as announced in verse 1.

The rest of the narrative of Creation is easy to understand.

WHAT IS THE FIRMAMENT?

(Genesis1: 6-7)

"Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. And G-d made a firmament, and divided (separated) the waters that were under the firmament (separation), from those that were above the firmament."

On the surface of the Earth there was (and still exists) water in two different forms. One of these forms is the one that always stays under. This has the form of a liquid, and is known as WATER. The other kind is in the form of vapour, which, when visible, we call mist or fog, if low, or we call it clouds if seen high up in the sky.

So we have the "Waters Under" and the "Waters Above". Those Under are known as 'Seas' and those Above are known as Mist, Fog or Clouds. That is why Verse 6 says that the Firmament separates the waters from the waters, as a blanket separates the air under from the air above it.

Then Verse 7 continues to explain that the Firmament separated the 'waters under' from the 'waters above' it.

But when the author wanted to demonstrate the part of clear AIR which we call sky and where we see the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, the author of Genesis started calling this part "The Firmament of Heaven". He never again calls it just "Firmament".

We start finding "The Firmament of Heaven" from when the SUN appeared in the sky through the broken clouds in verse 14. After that, he continues to call it "the Firmament of Heaven" when he mentions the Sun, the Moon, the Stars and even when he mentions the birds that fly - in verse 20.

So the word "Firmament" used in verses 6 and 7 denotes the layer of clear air that started forming between the sea-water beneath and the receding mist above.

Concluding, I would say that most people still consider these Bible descriptions as unscientific. But these descriptions of "the water above" and "the water under", " the Firmament" and "the Firmament of Heaven" together with the perfectly scientific chronological order of Creation, are not only Scientific but EXTRA-scientific - so much so, that it is only in our very scientific age that we are starting to understand something of it. But because there is still so much that we do not understand, we try to put the blame on the Author!

 

NOTES ON THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS

*0. Several additional photographs have been specially prepared for publication in this English-language Internet edition; these may be viewed individually by activating those numbers which are here prefixed by an asterisk. To facilitate their colour printing in A4-format, if desired, these together with some not otherwise available illustrations have elsewhere also been conveniently combined into a sequence of nine separate groups.

1. This is a sketch showing how the back entrance of Hagar Qim would have appeared from the inside when it was still erect. This style of roofing could still be seen in the solid rock at the Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni. This drawing is according to a suggestion made personally to my father by Prof. L.M. Ugolini in thankful recognition of some important information my father gave to him (pages 35, 40).

2. Sketch-map of the Pre-Diluvian Mediterranean showing probable fresh-water lakes in the Sardinian-Balearic, Ionian and the Herodotus Abyssal Plains. It also shows the rift valley that caused the opening of the Gibraltar Gate and the forming of the Alboran Basin, the Algerian Basin, the Algerian-Tyrrhenian Trough and the Malta Trough (pages 3, 6, 12).

3. Plan of the Hagar Qim Temple complex (pages 15, 18, 31, 51).

4. Aerial view of the Hagar Qim complex for comparison with the plan (page 4). *4a.

5. Bird's-eye view of an early model of the Hagar Qim ruins as existing soon after the excavation (page 4).

6. Sketch showing how the doors of Hagar Qim were constructed (p.50).

7. Sketch showing how the stone window opening about 30 feet to the left of the main doorway in the front of the temple was constructed (pages 21, 33, 43). *7a.

8. Picture of the facade of Hagar Qim taken at the beginning of this century long before the front was reconstructed. On the right one could observe what is now the lintel of the entrance supported on modern stone pillars and with a long block lying on top of it. This long block is one of the long blocks now forming the top layer of the facade. When this long block was struck with a bit of stone, it made a sound like that of a big bell (pages 9, 33).

9. Panoramic view of Hagar Qim (taken before it was surrounded by the iron railings) with the distant horizon of "Tal-Gholja" hill with the pedestal of Laferla Cross, which cross had at the time been felled by a storm.

10. An old picture of the Highest Stone showing its shoring-block at its foot about three feet away, and also revealing the bottom recess of the high stone. This shoring-block was moved close up to the high stone in the 1950's (pages 9, 50).

11. The biggest stone in all the Megalithic Temples in Malta and Gozo (pages 9, 31, 54). *11a.

12. Block of stone showing on the left just the feet, and on the right the feet and a part of the very fat legs of two statuettes (pages 18, 27, 46). The skull was found behind block A. *12a.

13. Statue of Bazuzu, the goat-like devil (p.46). *13a.

14. Three of the seven from the earlier set of SEVEN statuettes discovered during the 1950's' excavation (pages 18, 27, 41).

15. Four from the later set of seven statuettes discovered in 1839, during the first excavation (page 27).

16. A fifth statuette from the later set. Perhaps the best statuette of them all - and in whose shape, that of a Double Oval, they built their temples (pages 27, 30).

17. A sixth statue from this later set. The label below, put there by Sir Temi Zammit, reads: "HEADLESS STATUETTE OF GLOBIGERINA LIMESTONE REPRESENTING A STANDING NAKED FIGURE OF MALE SEX. IT HAS BEEN CUT FROM A FLAT BLOCK. ON THE UPPER SURACE THERE IS A CENTRALLY PLACED HOLE, PERHAPS OF MODERN WORKMANSHIP." (page 27).

18. A seventh statue, a standing figure with very fat legs and thighs but with no female breasts. It stands 15½" high (page 29).

19. This small statue, known as "THE VENUS OF MALTA" and only about 5" tall, certainly represents a woman. It is equipped with a set of hanging motherly breasts, yet its legs and thighs are quite proportionately normal. So, the big statuettes are made with very fat arms, legs and thighs, not because they represented 'Femininity', but because they represenented POWER. This statuette is made of baked clay (page 27).

20. The "Sleeping lady" from the Hypogeum, about 4½" long. It is made of baked clay (page 27).

21. This is the "Tarxien Idol" of which only the lower half remains. The original, made of Upper Coralline Limestone, is in the Museum of Archæology in Valletta. When complete, this statue would have been a colossus standing more than 8' high, and very bulky (page 28).

22. Two monolithic table-altars astride the entrance to the Holy of Holies, which is very well decorated (page 38). *22a.

23. This photo of Tarxien shows the first layer of stones forming the dome. At Hagar Qim they used Corbelling, even at Mnajdra, but by the time Tarxien was built, they had already discovered the arched dome as we know it today (page 36).

24. General view of the Main Chapel with the Table-Altars on the left and with the Acoustic Hole for the women and the Corbelling visible in the background. It also shows a sketch of how the arches to roof the chapel were constructed. This is also Prof. Ugolini's idea (pages 35, 37, 40). *24a; *24b.

25. Tarxien Acoustic Opening as seen from the inside of the temple. There is also a sketch showing the top of the opening (page 54).

26. Tarxien Women's Chapel with broken monolith doorway. Also showing sketch of top of Acoustic Hole seen from the outside (pages 37, 54).

27. This is the Chalice, the original one, the precursor of the one in picture 28. Its top, formed in the shape of a shallow cup, had the ridges of its rim broken during the destruction, when some stone fell on it. Yet one can still observe the cavity in its top surface. This cup is made of a special type of Globigerina Limestone, harder than the ordinary type and very impervious to liquid - blood (pages 38, 39).

28. This decorated column is the successor of the chalice in picture 27. It is a highly decorated base to receive the blood basin on top of it. This column is about 29" high (page 38).

29. Entrance to the High Chapel showing the Sun at the Summer Solstice setting exactly in front of the doorway and behind the distant horizon on top of a hill, on the 21st of June (pages 21, 42). *29a.

30. Altar for women, on the outside of the temple (page 53). *30a; *30b; *30c.

31. The South Wall. The man shown in the picture is the author's father (pages 9, 13, 56). *31a; *31b; *31c; *31d.

32. This pile of large blocks of stone seen to the right at the end of the Main Chapel formed part of the outside wall and entrance, seen in the distance, some 30' away. There is so much petrified mortar stuck to them that some of this mortar actually joins some of the blocks to each other (pages 8, 47). *32a; *32b.

33. Top view of the front chapels with the Southern Wall in the background and the Islet of Filfla in the distance. There were then no iron railings.

34. View of the Main Chapel with the Islet of Filfla in the distance. No iron railings as yet. The chalice column is seen near the opening to the next chapel (pages 39, 41).

35. This decorated slab found in Hagar Qim represents the curled horns of a ram with the top of its head showing between the horns. A lot of bones of sheep and goats were found inside the temple, bones which, quite naturally, were from the remains of the sacrifices.

36. Main Entrance of Hagar Qim with the Moon at its Major Standstill Summer-rising position, taken on 29 June 1988 (pages 20, 21). *36a.

37. Directional stone marking the position of the Sun at sunrise on the Equinox, as seen from Mnajdra Lower Entrance, visible in the distance (pages 21, 22). *37a.

38. Mnajdra Triangle on inside threshold of entrance to Lower Temple (page 22). *38a; *38b.

39. Close-up photo of Equinox Stone (pic.37) taken from Mnajdra Side (pages 21, 22).

40. Directional stone marking the position at the Winter Solstice of the Sunrise seen from Mnajdra Lower Entrance. It is slightly worn away, owing to its being of Upper Coralline Limestone, but otherwise it has the same shape and size as the Equinox stone (page 22). *40a.

41. Human Skull found inside Hagar Qim during the first excavation in 1839 (pages 11, 44).

41A. Head of the Proto-Semitic type (page 45).

42. Human skull considered to be of the Stone-Age period discovered in Denmark at the time of the Hagar Qim skull and known as "The Borreby Skull" (page 45).

43. This photo of a rather monumental niche was the cradle or bed of a baby whose skeleton was discovered on a kind of stone shelf inside. On the other side opposite to this nich in this chamber are two large horizontal slabs, the top one being about 4 feet above the lower, which is placed just above ground-level. These shelves could have served as two-tier sleeping-bunks for the parents of the baby. This lower "Temple" of Mnajdra must have served as living-quarters for the "priest", and no traces of sacrificial fires have been found in it (pages 11, 45). *43a; *43b; *43c.

44. Remnant of Lava Wheel used in Cart-Ruts (page 67).#

45. Sketch of the Cart-Ruts near Hagar Qim (pages 65, 66, 68).

46. Photo of Cart-Ruts near Hagar Qim (page 65).

47. Detail of Cart-Ruts with signs of modern cart-tracks crossing obliquely between the ancient ruts (pages 65, 67). *47a.

48. Maqluba water-well (page 77).

49. Maqluba eroded perpendicular wall. Notice the cavities and the high proportion of the wall that has been eroded just by contact with water (page 77).

50. Chapel of St. Matthew. Notice the smaller chapel at the left back corner of the bigger chapel. The path and gorge leading down into Maqluba is to the left of the smaller chapel (page 76).

51. One of the "Misqa" water-wells full of water (pages 18, 58). *51a; *51b; *51c.

52. Sketch showing the progressive formation of Ghar Dalam in its three periodic stages from just a natural blister in the granite rock in Figure 1. Figure 2 shows the stage when the top of the cave was pierced by the eroding river above. Figure 3 represents the present state of GHAR DALAM (pages 4, 62).

*54.

*55; *56.

*57; *58; *59.

*60; *61.

*62. Sketch drawn by J. S. Ellul in November 2000 showing how he believes ordinary human beings managed to construct the many prediluvian temples on Gozo and Malta when today's archipeleago still formed part of the far-flung Atlantean Empire.

 

INVITATION TO ARCHAEOLOGY

by Professor Philip Rahtz

Modern archæologists are constantly urging the necessity for a stricter and more scientific use of language and logic in archæology. One of the more attractive facets of such thinking is that degrees of probability in the 'truth' of archæological evidence might be quantified. There is much difference between the validity of, for instance, a date given by a coin sealed below a floor, and a date suggested for the use of that floor by the material lying on it. The first is a statement of fact, the second lies somewhere between 'possibly, though very unlikely' and 'very probable amounting almost to certainty'. Between these two extremes lies a range of quality of evidence which is infinite in its diversity both in kind and degree. Can the range be quantified? Wind-strengths are given a 10-point (Beaufort) scale based on measurable characteristics. While archæological evidence has more diversity than wind-strengths, is it possible to erect a 10-point scale ranging from quality 1 (very unlikely) to 10 (certain), which can be linked with written equivalents?

We set it out thus:

Probability scale

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Literary equivalent

very unlikely

unlikely

possible

very possible

likely

more than likely

probable

very probable

virtually certain

certain

Does the table illustrate the absurdity of a mathematical probability scale of the range of written terms commonly used in archæological reports? The latter seems to me to be more than likely (scale 6). The more 'elegant' archæological reports are littered with dozens of different phrases used to express subtle nuances of degrees of probability. Are they used as sober assessments of the evidence or as elements of rhetoric to persuade the reader to one subjective opinion on what the evidence can bear? If there is no such thing as 'objective evidence' from an excavation, then these phrases will carry a double message: 'this is what I think the evidence was in the ground, and this is what I think it implies.'

The use of a scale might force archæologists to think more carefully about what weight the evidence will bear. Too often, the choice of the elegant phrase covers up a vague and woolly approach to the evidence; in the best of hands it will of course express half-tones of delicate balance between this and that which simply cannot be quantified. This is a valid technique if its object is to direct the reader's attention to the evidence itself, a challenging invitation to him to decide for himself just how likely is the claim made.

Unfortunately few writers of archæological reports are skilful in the use of words, even if they do in fact fully appreciate what can and what cannot be deduced from the evidence in the ground. If they do not have the gift of words, they might do better to use a number-scale; their readers would then at least know how likely they thought was likely!

Even worse, some writers are more concerned with converting readers to their point of view than expounding a balanced estimate of the validity of the evidence. To do this, they use literary techniques which are misleading or even dishonest in a 'scientific' report. They do in fact create an inverse scale of probability. Discerning readers will see through this, and apply a reversal-factor; others will be persuaded. Examples of such an inverse scale might run thus (the 'modesty' of the first example is as misleading as the persuasiveness of the rest):

Phrase:

Actual meaning:

'just possible'

 

I'm pretty certain, but I can't actually prove it; the reader will see how cautious and clever I'm being

'there is some evidence pointing towards�'

there isn't any but it would be nice if there were

'the evidence suggests that�'

if it were twisted beyond recognition

'it is reasonable to suggest that�'

 

it is unreasonable, but I may persuade my readers to believe it by an appeal to their reasonableness

'virtually certain'

I'm on very shaky ground here

'there can be no doubt that�'

(or more commonly) 'doubtless', 'plausible'

anybody who disagrees will feel a fool�

well, ever so interesting - if it were true�

'it would be premature to suggest'

but wouldn't it be fun!

'all the evidence taken together points to�'

it all points in different directions

'obviously', 'indisputably', 'presumably'

there is no actual evidence

'reference to the section'

'no right-thinking scholar can doubt' or 'the discerning reader will observe�'

no-one is likely to do this, I hope,

these are my final trump-cards�

 

It would be tedious to document the examples given above (I can't be bothered to do it).

These dubious phrases about the quality of evidence should put the discerning reader on his guard, but an ability to 'translate' other statements found in archæological reports is also needed, for example:

Phrase:

Actual Meaning:

'further research may indicate�'

mine certainly doesn't

'adverse excavation conditions�'

the recording was terrible

'there was no evidence of�'

if there was, we didn't see it

'the object crumbled into dust on exposure to the air�'

Joe sat on it

'the relationship between those layers was uncertain�'

Joe dug it away when we weren't looking

'examination of the section showed that�'

 

we didn't see it in digging on one side of the baulk anyway, after it had been doctored with a trowel

'the site was excavated by open area method�'

just as well, as no one could check the sections

'the levels above the mosaic floor consisted of infilling of soil and stones�'

we missed 7 periods of post-Roman occupation

 

'there was evidence of squatting�'

we missed 14 post-Roman periods

'although little survived to suggest a post-Roman occupation�'

we bulldozed the top 10 feet

 

'the date of the end of the occupation of the villa was shown by the latest coins, which were of Honorius�'

I don't believe in all this Dark Age nonsense

 

'a scatter of small stones associated with two hand-made sherds�'

I do

 

'it was not possible�'

we didn't think of it till afterwards

'a flimsy structure�'

 

Moira planned the post-holes

it can hardly have stood up on its own

'a pot scatter of uncertain date�'

we wrecked the site

Editor's Note:

Professor Rahtz's Invitation to Archæology (ISBN 0 631 141106 5) in which the above deservedly very frequently quoted extract may be better appreciated in its proper context is only one of more than a dozen excellent books published by Basil Blackwell in their "Invitation" series. As well as an Index and select Bibliography, this volume comprises nine helpful Chapters: What is Archæology? -Motivation, Finance and Politics - British Archæology - Who are the Archæologists? - What do Archæologists Do? - Ethnoarchæology, or How to Avoid Boring Holidays - Fringe Archæology - Two Case-Studies in British Archæology - Archæology and the Public. Like Jean-Yves Blot's more recently published Underwater Archæology (Thames & Hudson: ISBN 0 500 30068 2), I commend it especially to those interested readers not as yet equipped competently either to interpret or evaluate any of the more specialized books and articles elsewhere mentioned or cited.

- Shalom & Welcome! -

   

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