The idols of Malta
The great neolithic temples on Malta, are among the oldest temples in the world. Many of them were erected before even the pyramids were built. Yet, what were their purpose, and how were they used?
The temples are sometimes accompanied by underground burial places and one of these, at the Brockdorff stone circle, at Xaghra, on Gozo, has recently been excavated. The worshippers passed through a stone circle, along a processional way, and then down a stairway into the underground cave. There, lying on the ground in front of the altar, they found a bundle of idols, quite unlike any others known. What was the purpose, and how were they used? Were they tribal emblems, held in the hand by the leaders of the different tribes? In issue number seven, we were able to speculate on these rituals, and even offer some tentative answers.