Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, Vol 3, No 1 (2017)

An Investigation of the possible Equinox Alignment at Mnajdra, Malta

Frank J Ventura, George Agius

Abstract


A general study of the orientations of the prehistoric temples of Malta showed that the main axis of the Mnajdra I temple had the same orientation as the equinox sunrise. But was this a coincidence or a deliberate choice of the temple builders? This query led to a survey of the karstic terrain forming the eastern skyline of Mnajdra for any evidence of observations of sunrise in the Neolithic age, especially at the solstices. This report describes the procedure, observations and challenges of this survey, as well as the discovery of some interesting features, including two possible postholes. Further measurements showed that a post in the southernmost hole could have been used as a foresight, marking winter solstice sunrise fairly accurately. The other possible posthole is off-set from the summer solstice sunrise position by about three degrees in azimuth. A discussion of the relevance of these findings concludes this report.

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DOI: 10.1558/jsa.32149

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