Last Sunday, around 4,000 visitors accepted Heritage Malta’s invitation to visit the Tarxien Temples free of charge during an event which included the launch of a new guide book about this site.
Kenneth Gambin, Chief Operations Officer for Heritage Malta, said that the Agency was celebrating two occasions in one which were both related to accessibility.
“Accessibility is crucial to Heritage Malta’s mission and it could take various forms. Today, we are first of all offering financial accessibility through the Open Day which provides free access to all. Then, there is also the physical accessibility in the form of a walkway which allows visitors to explore the site more easily. Moreover today, we are also providing the public with intellectual accessibility in the form of this guide book which will serve as an interesting guide for the site of the Tarxien Temples.”
Bronze Age figuring found at Tarxien Temples
Godwin Vella, Manager of the Publishing and Didactic Resources Department for Heritage Malta explained that the books which are published regularly by the Agency form part of a strategy of interpretation and dissemination of information.
“We publish various books including a series of guide books for Heritage Malta’s sites and museums. In the past, we already had such a series, however, we have now felt the need to revise these books in order to have a more user-friendly and attractive style as it is expected by today’s visitors. This guide book is the first in a series which is expected to surpass 30 titles.”
Josef Caruana, Curator of Prehistoric Sites for Heritage Malta and author of this guide book revealed that this book is reflecting a new reality; both relating to the walkway which was installed on site some years ago and also to new research about these megalithic structures.
“The new guide book was planned so that visitors can follow specific things in sequence according to the walkway. In this book, one will find old resources together with new research, and the author’s thoughts about this site.”
Fish-bone necklace found at Tarxien Temples
“A particular aspect which can be found in this site which one does not find in other local megalithic temples is the discovery of a Bronze Age phase. At the time, when Temi Zammit was excavating this site and found these archaeological remains, this phase was completely new to the archaeology of Malta. In fact, this was named ‘Tarxien Cemetery phase’ since Zammit was excavating a cemetery dating to the Bronze Age.”
“Basically, once the Temple Period ends, we understand that new people arrived on these islands who started to use a part of this megalithic site as a cemetery to bury their dead. Besides the difference in the use of the site, these ‘new’ people were also practising cremation and then burying the remains on site. This gives a uniqueness to the Tarxien Temples due to the information that we could take from them.”