Temples of Malta

Reference work entry


The unique Neolithic temples of Malta have a distinctive orientation toward the range SE–SSW (except for the Mnajdra South Temple which faces E). However, the motive for this preferred direction is not clear. If the motive was astronomical, then the builders could have targeted the bright stars of the Southern Cross and Centaurus. If the opposite direction is taken, then the target could have been the temple builders’ ancestral home in Sicily and the surrounding islands. The orientation of the Mnajdra South Temple is remarkable and suggests an alignment with either sunrise midway between the solstices or the heliacal rising of the Pleiades around 3000 BC. The evidence for these alternatives is discussed.


Star Cluster Bright Star Summer Solstice Ancestral Home Surrounding Island 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MaltaMsidaMalta
  2. 2.Churchill CollegeCambridgeUK

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