Historic sites across Malta and the Maltese islands – One of the things the Maltese Islands are known for are the structures and remains that have been discovered for us to be able to experience different times of history for ourselves. You can find some of the oldest structures dating back to 3600 BC. For those who are interested in Maltese historic sites and archaeology, take your pick from Neolithic temples to catacombs and hypogea, taking you all the way to our time. There is something for everyone to experience.

This Neolithic subterranean structure dates to 4000 BC found in Paola. The Hal-Saflieni hypogeum is found on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The hypogeum is one of the best-preserved prehistoric structure in the world. It is a three-level underground structure which was discovered accidentally, in 1902 by workers who were cutting cisterns for housing development. The structure was first studied by Manuel Magri, who oversaw the excavations. In 1903, during the excavations, contents of the hypogeum included sculptures of females and over 7000 remains. Manuel Magri’s report of the hypogeum was lost when he had died in Tunisia in 1907. Later, the study and understanding of this structure by Sir Themistocles Zammit.

Over 7000 remains were discovered in this structure and had unique differences to the remains of humans. Apart from an elongated skull, which many claims to have been a ritualistic head deformation that people in the past practice. Another interesting fact about the skulls is the absence of the sagittal suture. It is the connecting tissues between two parietal bones of a skull which closes completely 22 to 39 months of age, meaning that the bones of the skull fuse together during the first 2 years after birth. These are sutures that are found on every human being as our skulls are not one whole piece when we are born. The skull is made from several pieces, which, during the birthing process, when an infant passes through the birthing canal, all pieces meet in the centre, leaving sutures in our skulls. The skulls which were found with the remains at the hypogeum did not have such sutures.

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