Għar Dalam Cave is a highly important site as it was here that the earliest evidence of human settlement on Malta, some 7,400 years ago, was discovered. The site consists of a cave and a museum.
The history of the cave and of the Islands can be decoded from Għar Dalam’s stratigraphy. The lowermost layers, more than 500,000 years old, contained the fossil bones of dwarf elephants, hippopotami, micro-mammals and birds. Above the pebble layer that follows, is the so-called ‘deer’ layer, dated to around 18,000 years ago. The top layer, or ‘cultural layer’, dates to less than 10,000 years and holds evidence of the first humans on the Island.
A series of repetitive exhibits of semi-fossilized bones mounted on wooden boards are displayed in Victorian style and presented to the public. The center of the room is decorated with mounted skeletons of a brown bear, a young African elephant, a young hippopotamus and a skull of an adult, a red fox, a red deer, and wolf. All these skeleton belong to modern-day animals and are exhibited for comparative and educational purpose only.
“The Old Museum” was opened in 1933 while the new didactic museum was inaugurated in 2002. The new museum bears information on life on earth, the effects of the Ice Age on Malta, the formation of the cave, and dwarfing and gigantism in animals. It is also present specific information about the hippopotami, elephants, deer, wolves, foxes, bears, and other remains, and deals with historical aspects of Għar Dalam.
Source: Heritage Malta