Ta’ Ħagrat Temples


Ta’ Ħagrat Temples

Ta’ Ħagrat, lying in a picturesque and evocative setting on the outskirts of Mgarr, is an important temple site. It consists of two adjacent buildings; the main structure is smaller than many of the Islands’ temples, at 15m long internally, but it is better preserved.

As with many temple finds on the Islands, Ta’ Ħagrat’s discovery was haphazard. In 1916, a mound of stones was sighted in a field at Mgarr. The owner of the field is reported to have used some of the stones to build a house.

The site was excavated between 1923 and 1926 under the direction of Sir Temi Zammit, Malta’s first Director of Museums. Further excavations in 1953 were unable to shed much more light on the chronological sequence of the site.

It was not until the early 1960s, when further work was carried out by renowned British archaeologist David.Trump, that Ta’ Ħagrat was accurately dated: the larger building was placed in the Ggantija phase (3600-3200 BC); the smaller identified as from the Saflieni phase (3300 - 3000 BC). The plentiful pottery of earlier date implies that these two temples replaced earlier remains. Finds from this site include a unique find - a small limestone model of a building.

The larger Temple is set in the middle of a large semicircular forecourt. The impressive façade with a monumental doorway was reconstructed in 1937. Two steps lead up to the main entrance and a corridor flanked by huge uprights of coralline limestone, three on each side, which support large hard-stone slabs. The corridor beyond the entrance is paved with large stone blocks placed with great accuracy. The corridor leads into a central court with three apses around it. They are constructed with roughly-hewn stone walls, and have a hard torba floor. The corbelled masonry forming the curved walls suggests that the building was roofed.

Source: Heritage Malta