Water and cosmology in the prehistoric Maltese world: Fault control on the hydrogeology of Ġgantija, Gozo (Maltese Islands)
Alastair Ruffell, Christopher O. Hunt, Reuben Grima, Rowan McLaughlin, Caroline Malone, Patrick Schembri, Charly French, Simon K.F. Stoddart
problematic: hydrogeology, temple culture
description: The dry limestone geology of the Maltese islands presented a challenging environment to prehistoric communities, who required reliable water sources to support agricultural subsistence. Ġgantija, one of the iconic Maltese Late Neolithic Temples on Gozo, and now a World Heritage Site, was surveyed using Ground Penetrating Radar to reveal a significant line of geological faulting running beneath the megalithic structure. The seepage of water from this fault had major implications for the siting of the monument. This seems to reflect a pattern of situating many of these key sites adjacent to ancient sources of water, as is shown by the close association of two thirds of these sites with toponym evidence for the presence of springs in the medieval period. It is possible that the prehistoric Maltese embraced this natural resource as part of the cosmology of their ritual sites.