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Tal-Qighan Prehistoric Temple

Tal-Qighan contains megalithic slabs as large as ten feet but with no discernible shape or form. According to one theory, it is one in a series of temples that were in visual contact with each other, ta' l-Imramma to the west and Qala to the east each being less than two miles away. The 7,000 years of human existence in Gozo are presented in a state-of-the-art show at Gozo Heritage on the main road to Rabat.

The ruins lie on a small, slightly raised plateau, about 700 meters north-west of the village of Ghajnsielem. The plateau rises between 2 meters and 4 meters above  the surrounding land, but is sharply separated from it only on the north side, where the rock falls away steeply. They were first, noted by Caruana in 1896 and his plan shows an entrance on the south side since the plateau is accessible only from that side.

Borg GharibMayr described the temple as the remains of a fortified settlement. He discovered the first two sections of ancient walls, which formed an obtuse angle in the south-east corner of the plateau. The north-east for a distance of 14 meters, its line being continued for a further 10 meters by a modern field wall which contained ancient material. The other was badly preserved, but could be followed for about ten meters in a westerly direction. It was curved, forming a slight concavity which faced south. The walls consisted of unworked blocks or slabs, but only at one point was more then the lowest course preserved. The largest slabs in these walls were the stones which formed the corner, which were 2 meters wide and 3 meters high. Inside the wall the field was at higher level than outside and this, together with the concavity of the southern part of the wall and the visible remains might be part of the outer wall of a temple. This temple so far has never been excavated.    

L' Mrejzbiet and the Megalithic Circle

L' Mrejzbiet literally means a small beetle or wooden mallet or maybe Marzebba's field, referring to a nickname. These remains, also first described by Caruana (1896)lie 40 meters to 50 meters south of  those of Borg Gharib. They consisted if small enclosure of stones forming a fairly regular circle with a diameter of 10 meters. A series if flat stones (mostly still on site) mark the plan and serve as a foundation for unworked uprights, 1 meter to 1.5 meters high. Mayr wrote that this temple has a habitation site. Its plan suggest that it could have been a megalithic circlesimilar to the one excavated in Xaghra. Unfortunately the site has never been excavated, and there is no indication of its date. Nonetheless, it can safely be stated, that most probably, these dare to the Temple period (4100 - 2500BC)

The two sites, tal-Qighan and L' Mrejzbiet were probably a single complex with a unique combination of a major temple, a cult center and one or more settlements but now disjoined and trounced by the modern road and the twentieth century buildings. It is indeed a key site worth protecting with utmost vigilance for in the future it could be developed into a great attraction.

The Local Council on these sites

On 6 September 1996 held its first meeting with the Prim Minister Dr Eddie Fenech Adami and on the agenda the archaeological site of the temples of Borg Gharib were discussed. The Prim Minister was informed about the history of these sites. The council said that these temples lied on a private property and in order to start excavation, the central government had to expropriate the land first.

On the 7 April 1997 The Malta Government Gazzette issued a government notice for the scheduling of these sites, that reads "The Planning Authority hereby declares that Archaeological remains, Borg Gharib and L-Imrejzbiet are designated as Class A in terms of Structure Plan Policy ARC 2.

On 12 May 1998 the council wrote to the Minister of Education and Culture Dr Evarist Bartolo to intervene for the expropriation and excavation of these sites. On 12  December 1998 the Council applied to the National Committee of ICOMOS (International Council On Monuments and Sites) to nominate Borg Gharib Temples for "The Ten Most Endangered Monuments in the Maltese Islands. the intention of the committee is that this list would be announced each year to highlight the plight of the our most endangered monuments.

The Council is doing its utmost to sound the alarm and the call for action to save these irreplaceable treasures. These monuments are increasingly menaced by decay or deliberate demolition. The intention of the Council is to hand over to the future generations the rich heritage we have inherited and we must protect it while it stands.



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