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  • Series: Sophia Centre Master Monograph
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907767418
  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm


The megalithic temples of Malta, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, have been a continued attraction for exploring unanswered questions about prehistoric culture. In this book, Tore Lomsdalen situates the temples in their archaeological context and reviews the archaeoastronomical surveys of them. He then turns to the question of intentionality in the alignment of the Mnajdra South temple. Lomsdalen presents the results of years of fieldwork conducted at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and introduces new evidence about and insights into the quixotic temple architecture and its relationships with the sky.

Sky and Purpose in Prehistoric Malta

Sun, Moon, and Stars at the Temples of Mnajdra

Table of Contents


List of Figures


Chapter 1


1.1 AIM

1.2 Malta’s ‘Best Kept Secret’

1.3 Cosmology and Astronomy in Malta

Chapter 2

Maltese Prehistory: A Literature Review

2.1 The Neolithic Diffusion in a European Context

2.2 The Colonisation of Malt a and the Early Neolithic

2.3 The Temple Period

2.4 The Mnajdra Temple Complex

2.4.1 History of Site Research

2.4.2 Landscape

2.4.3 Description of the Temples

2.4.4 Building Sequence

Chapter 3

Maltese Cosmology and Astronomy: A Literature Review

3.1 Cosmology and Landscape

3.2 Temple Period Astronomy

3.3 Mnajdra and the Cosmos

Chapter 4


4.1 Site Visits

4.2 Surveying

4.3 Astronomical Observation and Photography

4.4 Experimental Archaeology

4.5 Phenomenology

3.2 Temple Period Astronomy

3.3 Mnajdra and the Cosmos

Chapter 5


5.1 Archaeoastronomical Survey of Mnajdra East and Middle Temples

5.1.1 Mnajdra East

5.1.2 Mnajdra Middle

5.2 Archaeoastronomical Survey of Mnajdra South Temple

5.2.1 Main Entrance

5.2.2 Horizon Postholes

5.2.3 Cross-Quarter and Eighth Days

5.2.4 Oracle Holes

5.2.5 Other Possible Alignments

Chapter 6


6.1 Maltese Archaeoastronomy

6.2 Intentionality Behind Mnajdra

6.2.1 Offset Illumination and the Light/Dark Dichotomy

6.2.2 An Astronomical Intention Behind the Oracle Holes in Mnajdra South

6.2.3 The Solstitial Postholes

6.2.4 The Construct ion Sequence of Mnajdra

Chapter 7


Appendix I

Appendix II

Appendix III

Appendix IV: Glossary



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