Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Earliest Maltese

Malta. We've highlighted the Megalithic Temple Builders of Malta an incredible nine times already! It makes me want to visit the island incredibly badly. Someday maybe. But, for now we'll just visit it through research.

Although we've highlighted these Megalithic Temples and structures we haven't said a whole bunch about the culture that built them. So, without further ado, let's dive in and discover as much as we can about these megalithic builders.

The earliest inhabitants of Malta seem to have arrived on the island from Sicily. These early settlers were believed to have been the Sciani, one of the three indigenous peoples of Sicily at the time the Greek's arrived to colonize the island. Thucydides claimed that the Sciani migrated to Sicily from Iberia, which means that the earliest peoples of Malta could have come from prehistoric Spain. Some of the architectural similarities between the Chalcolithic builders on Los Millares and the numerous Mediterranean islands could suggest migration patterns, but the earliest settlers of Malta would have a few thousand years to wait until the discovery of copper techniques. The Sciani or whoever, landed on Malta a little before 5000 BC.

The first settlers of Malta have become known as the Għar Dalam phase (5200 BC - 4500 BC). These guys didn't build any temples, but they did have some sort of fertility cult thing going on for them. They also farmed cereals and raised livestock. When the Għar Dalam phase came to an end they would go through two Skorba phases, the Grey Skorba and the Red Skorba before they decided to build the Megalithic Temples we've highlighted here on the blog. The Skorba phases are based on the type of pottery they made. In the earlier Grey Skorba they didn't paint the pottery with red ochre. During the later Red Skorba phase they painted it with red ochre. Pretty simple stuff.

Ok, so we know that these early settlers set the groundwork for the temple builders. What we're not sure of is whether or not these earliest settlers evolved into the temple builders or a new wave of settlers came and supplanted them to build the temples. Then came the three phases of temple construction that we've already talked about. And that'll bring us up to date on Malta for awhile. Maybe we'll check back in with them in the Bronze Age. We'll see though...

1 comment:

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