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 Location: Tal Qacca, Gozo.  Grid Reference: 36.05° N. 14.26° E.

 

      The Xaghra Circle: (Brochtorff Circle).

The Xaghra circle has been known about for a long time but in 1987-94, following a dig by a joint team from the University of Malta, the Maltese Museums Department and the University of Cambridge, the site had life breathed into it once more. The excavation uncovered the burial ground of the same community (Hypogeum II), which practised its rituals in the nearby Ggantija temple, dating principally to the period from 3000 to 2400 BC. The most notable discoveries include more than 200,000 human body parts and prehistoric art relating to the builders of the prehistoric Maltese temples

An earlier chambered tomb on the site dates to the period between 4,100 and 3,800 BC.

 (Click here for images of the reconstructed site)

 

 

   The Xaghra Stone Circle:

In the 1820s, the Lieutenant Governor of Gozo, Otto Bayer conducted an "excavation" at the circle which was recorded by the local artist Charles de Brochtorff in 1825 (below).

 

These watercolours are by Charles Brochtorff and show the circle before and after the 1826 excavation.

(Note - the alignment between the two 'Portal' stones above ground, and the larger uprights below).

The stone circle above ground enclosed a ritual area, entered through a huge stone entrance which led the mourners across a stone threshold and probably down steps into the rugged caves. At the centre, was an area enclosed by elegant megalithic trilithon altars and a massive stone bowl. The many natural caverns and niches of the caves were divided off by walls and stone slabs.

A photo of the Hypogeum II, found underneath the Xaghra Circle.

The full analysis of the circle’s bones has shown there are 220,000 body parts buried there, mostly small bits of bone. The circle itself was a colossal collection of ancestors. Some 800 skulls were found – this gives an inkling of the quantity of the bodies originally buried there. Interestingly, and curiously, the bodies seem to have been moved around. Some bodies remained intact – these were mainly male (thus undermining the goddess theory Dr Stoddart said and concurring with Dr Malone), while other bodies were sectioned off: the skulls collected at the top, the limbs on one side and the other bits on the other side. Some male corpses have older male corpses (ancestors) on top of them. This burial ground thus preserves the memory of male ancestors. In a few cases, where some intact corpses were found, the man seems to have been buried first, followed by a woman.

(Ref: http://www.desertfoxoverland.co.uk/malta_-_news_article.HTM )

 

Myth and Legend - Hancock (1), makes mention of another stone circle that is rumoured to have once existed in the channel between Malta and Comino.  He writes that he once talked directly with one of the commercial divers who saw the structure before it was 'buried by developers beneath concrete pilings'.

Alignments  - An alignment is suggested between the trilithon underground, and the 'portal' stones of the stone circle (see Brochtorff's  pictures above).

 

(Other Maltese sites) 

 

 

 

References:

1). G. Hancock. Underwater Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age. 2002. Penguin Books.

 

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