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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2001 10:53 am 
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THE TAL-QADI STONE
A MOON CALENDAR OR STAR MAP?
by
Ing. Chris Micallef B.Mech.Eng.(Hons), M.Inst.C.M., Eur.Ing., MBA (Henley).
Summary: The Tal-Qadi stone has always been an archaeological enigma amongst scholars. It has always been thought that this broken fan-shaped artefact represents stars and crescent moon. But is this so? The objective of this paper is to investigate deeper and analyse possible scenarios that may help to decipher the code of the Tal-Qadi stone.
Keywords: crescent, gibbous, first / last quarter, alignment, azimuth, declination.

I. Introduction
At a small temple of Tal-Qadi, near Burmarrad, a broken fan-shaped stone was found, with very interesting features, (figure 1). The dimensions of this stone are 29 X 24cm and is 5cm thick (11 ½ X 9 ½ inches). From an observation point, this broken-shaped fan stone has carved radiating lines, which apparently depicts stars and crescent moon, (Ridley, 1971). There are five segments in the Tal-Qadi stone. The fist segment has three lines in the shape of number one and one symbol which seems to represent a star, the second segment has seven stars, and three lines in the shape of number one. The third segment has the representation of crescent moon, the fourth segment has nine stars and 2 lines in the shape of the letter I, and the fifth segment has eight stars (figure 1). It is difficult to give an interpretation of the number ones and letter I’s. It seems that stars were going to be engraved on the Tal-Qadi stone in this position but this is pure speculation. Richard England, Malta’s leading architect had studied the possible use of notches in the hills around the temples as horizon markers for observation of the moon and stars by Neolithic sky-watchers, along the lines found in northern Europe.

II. History of the Site
According to Sir Themistocles Zammit, the Tal-Qadi ruins were first brought to light by a certain Henry Sant who worked as a Government civil engineer (M. A.R. 1916-1917). The Tal-Qadi temple is situated on the right-hand side of Mdawra road to Salina Bay. Close by, one can still find a farmhouse. Although the land on which the temple stands is Government property, Zammit had persuaded the Government of that time to buy a couple of fields, which adjoined this land further down. This was done because Zammit had noticed that some standing stones which seemed to form an entrance to a building to a higher level (M.A.R. 1927-1928).

Between 11th May and 15th September 1927, excavations were carried on this site. These were first supervised by L. Upton Way and later directed by Temi Zammit. The shallow soil and lack of megaliths made it quite difficult to follow the ground plan of the temple. Zammit had recorded this excavation period in the Museum Annual Report 1927-28, and a plan of the remains was made in 1952.

The Tal-Qadi temple construction
The main features are the outline of two apses of the temple, whose main axis evidently ran from east to west. According to Evans the temple was of the four-apse type, since there are some remains of a corridor to the east of the two surviving apses, which probably lead to a second pair. However nothing remains, except for four horizontal slabs which lie about four metres to the east of the corridor, and which may have been paving, (Evans, 1971). One of the most difficult assertions is to determine whether the temple faced west or east. According to the report of the excavations, Zammit believes that the temple was oriented towards the west, (M.A.R. 1927-1928). In his field notes Zammit mentions that the first work in May was done in the lower field called ic-cens tas-Sinistru. He had established the existence of a path or avenue leading to the Eastern ruins at a higher level. One must also mention at this point that Zammit was not entirely convinced by this assertion, since one can still notice a question-mark after he had written down this statement in his note-book (Evans, 1971). Zammit’s report describes the passage as consisting of a few blocks of coralline limestone aligned in the lower field. Zammit states explicitly that the corridor formed by these megaliths was 3.66 metres wide. These led to the main entrance of the building facing due west. According to Zammit, it seems that there might have been steps leading from the lower field to the temple’s entrance, which he measured as being 1.53 metres above that of the lower field. He cites no evidence for these steps to bridge this height and states that the steps, which now lead to the temple were built during the period of excavations.

Contrary to the hypothesis that the main entrance of the temple faced west, are the four flat slabs to the east of the corridor at the back of the two surviving apses. It seems that this represents that paving of another corridor, and if one had to take the geometric plan of the temple consisting of four apses, then one will conclude that this was the entrance to the temple. One should also note that if one had to take Zammit’s hypothesis as taking the remains of the stones on the west, they are too far to be considered as the width of the corridor, which is approximately 4 metres. Usually the width of the corridor between two set of apses would have been under 2 metres, as other megalithic structures around the Maltese Islands show. Having said this, there are still arguments, which support Zammit’s hypothesis.

If the temple entrance was from the east, then it must have been facing up hill, which would certainly make it unique when compared with other megalithic sites in the Maltese Islands. The second pair of apses are missing and therefore it is not possible to compare them for their size with the surviving pair, which might have given us an indication of this enigma. The façade of the temple is another missing feature, which would have definitely helped us to determine the orientation of the temple. Evans concludes that in view of all this he believes that the entrance faced west, (Evans, 1971).

The size of the original Tal-Qadi temple, (figure 2) is also another mystery, and so is the paving in the east. It might have been part of a corridor leading to some eastward extension, or even to another building. Evans remarked that its orientation appears to be slightly different from that of the two surviving apses and the corridor on the eastern side of these, (Evans, 1971).

If we are to consider the western entrance, there are very little remains. One can find three stones, now flush with the ground on the southern side, which were probably uprights. Two of these stand back to back and project into the apse. The broken stumps of two uprights represent the northern side of the temple. It seems that they were placed there quite recently, but perhaps they rest on ancient foundations. One can also find to the north of these two megalithic stones, another vertical slab.

The central space between the temple’s apses, and the demolished walls further east is quite well marked by the position of the corridor. One of the paving slabs which has dimensions of 1.6 metres long and 0.8 metres wide is laid lengthways across the corridor, and its length probably gives the original breadth of the corridor. The remains of a small upright, flanks the northern part, whereas the remains of two stone uprights are on the southern part.

Zammit records the discovery of Bronze-Age material pertaining to the Tarxien phase at the south-west corner of this corridor, which occurred just above the remains of these stones. These consisted of one large and some smaller pots of Tarxien Cemetry type, an amulet and a kind of spindle-whorl. Zammit states that the latter might have been the fragment of a small figurine of the Tarxien Cemetery type, which could have been easily mistaken for part of a spindle-whorl.

It seems that to the east of the corridor the only recognizable remains are the four slabs, which could have well been the original two horizontal slabs, after being pulled down or broken. These seem to have been the paving of a further corridor. The orientation of this corridor must have been east north-east. According to Evans, Zammit was uncertain whether these could have any direct relation with the remains further south, (M.A.R. 1927-28). However it seems that when one compares this with Bugibba temple, these slabs could have been the outer façade of the temple. In his diary Zammit recalls that in a conversation he had with a certain Giovanni Stivala, who was the tenant of the land where the temple is found, Stivala stated that he had destroyed a group of globigerina uprights in the north-west corner of the field years before (Evans 1971). These might have been further remains of the outer casing of the temple or indeed the missing façade.


Archaeological finds at Tal Qadi temple
The archaeological finds at Tal Qadi temple are summarised in table I.
FigurinesFragment of statuette, seemingly representing the abdomen of a human figurine. Rough buff clay; hollow on interior. The abdomen is distended and a pair of arms and hands are roughly represented as lying symmetrically across it. Length 4.3cm, breadth 4.8cm, depth 21cm. 1927.

Fragment of figurine of lightly baked grey-buff ware, representing part of shoulder and upper body of a figurine of the same type.
One of the breasts is represented by a small swelling near the upper corner of the fragment. Length 5.8cm, breadth 3.7cm, depth 1.4cm. 1927.

Cult ObjectsDecorated slab. Part of a broken slab of globigerina limestone, roughly worked but with a rather uneven decorated surface. The whole slab, of which the surviving piece probably represents a part adjoining the centre, was probably circular, and divided by various incised radial lines into numerous segments. Five are visible on the surviving part, of which 4 are filled with incised 7-pointed stars and one (in the centre of the others) has simply a D-shaped incision facing the centre, possibly representing a crescent moon. Length 29cm, max. breadth 23.5cm, depth 5cm. 1927.

ToolsPestle. Cylindrical with expanded head, roughly hewn of limestone. Length 11.9cm. Maximum diameter (head) 6 cm. Handle diameter 4cm.

Whetstone. Small narrow plaque of slaty stone, pierced with a large hole at one end for suspension. It is worn down somewhat in the centre. Probably used for sharpening knives. Length 5.3cm., average breadth 1.3cm., depth 0.4cm. From south-east corner of corridor, 1927.

Source: Evans (1971) page 43.
Table I : Archaeological finds at Tal Qadi temple.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2001 10:31 am 
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Chris:
Does the temple have features in common with others such as Stonehenge? It sounds as if it may - if I remember my Sitchin right (books on loan right now) the east west axis is an equinoxal alignment - pre-Marduk (before the dawn of the age of Aries) who preferred using the solctice alignments. Also, the circular shape directs us back to Thoth, who designed temples in this shape, his calendar a reflection of moon cycles (19 years).

Please indicate some sort of date for the building. The female figurines were atributed to peoples who were associated with Celt ancestors, were they not? The tracking of the moon's cycles tied in with human female fertility cycles.

Please add some of your own speculations to this paper!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2001 9:31 am 
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The shape of both Tal-Qadi and Mnajdra temples are elliptical in shape. In fact all Maltese temples are eliptical in shape or trefoil shape types (i.e made up of 2 ellipses joined together at the centre and with one ellipse large than the other). The eccentricity of the Mnajdra temples is between 0.86 and 0.9. This is strange compared to other European megalithic elliptical eccentries which are between 0.29 to 0.5.
The strangest of all is the use of the megalithic yard which Professor Alexander Thom discoverd when he conveyed a 300 megalthic site statistical analysis. The megalithic rod (1 Megalithic rod = 2.073metres) was used in the construction of Mnajdra temples. How did megalithic man communicate????? and was he so ingenious that he had some form of mathematics background. In fact this is what I am showing here.....even with the Tal-Qadi moon calendar stone.
The axis of both Mnajdra temple is east-west. Tal-Qadi is also aligned with the sun and moon but is not aligned east-west. Nonetheless the pendulum motion of the sun and the moon could have served as indicator markers for some religious ceremonies or cult.
Mnajdra temple is definitely a 16 month Bronze age calendar. What is interesting is that the Celts also have the cross quarter days and the eighth days. I strongly believe that the Celts derived their calendar from the Maltese one. Dating of Mnajdra temple is early Tarxien phase (3000-2500 BC). The Celts came much later. Not even the Egyptian pyramids are near. Some say that the Maltese were the first Egyptians. There are some similarities like the Maltese dog thatl ooks similar to one of the Egyptian gods, the summer solstice sun alignment on the summer solstice stone which looks similar to one of the representation of Egyptian cult fertilities. So here again another question of identity.
The moon cycle may well be thought of the women fertility cycles. One finds many female goddessess...but one cannot say for certainity at this point. We are speaking here of a different culture...completely alien to us......marred by time...but nonetheless we have evidence of bits here and there that make us peep sometimes in their tiny window.
What is certain is that megalithic man lived in peace and harmony with one and nature...no boundary walls were found during excavations....and the temple calendars (very similar to Ireland's Newgrange) definitely showed that megalithic man understood his surroundings and nature.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2001 3:15 pm 
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Chris:
Great post. Thanks - I like to hear your speculations, please don't hesitate! 2500 to 3000 bc make this site an anomoly, does it not?! this is contemporary with, or prior to Abraham - actually according to my timeline 2500 bc is the time when Nimrod was founding Babylon.

Have you read Neil Feer's book, God Games? He makes a case for "outlanders" those who were spill over in the populations in cities established by the Anunnaki. These peoples, whose ruins we see outward from the population centers of the time, exhibit this very same "tuning" with nature, having left the yoke of the ETs behind them. The farther one goes out from these centers of early civilization, one finds more and more cultures whose calendars and practices reflected a more natural understanding of the earth, the moon, and the surrounding flora and fauna.

It's my speculation that the cause was a loosening of influence by the Anunnaki, and having left off the interferance of the ETs meddling in human affairs, these people, in a lost sort of way for being bicameral, incorporated things from the ancient cities of the Sumerian plains, yet injected their own interpretations, findings, self discovery.

Have any remains that parallel the temple been found? These folks would have had to have been seafaring to arrive on the island. 5000 years ago the Anunnaki were still alive and well, doing their business and building kingdoms with subjects of men. It think this time was the begining of a population explosion. Is'nt this about the time grains and other goods such as cattle and other domesticated animals had been long enough out of their labs to have multiplied, and moved west with the outlanders? Are there any animal remains there that also parallel the temple?

My partner and I do a lot of seeking in our area regarding the early peoples and their domains - small house ruins - the basketmakers, even the paleo hunters whose tools we occasionally find (of very high quality folsom points, knives) - small house peoples lived in their little communities prior to moving into peublos - I know this is a much later time than the Maltese ruins - but we find plants that have scattered from their gardens, plants they domesticated for foods. I wondered about plants, tho I suppose by this time telling the difference between what is indigenous and what is imported would be difficult.

Such a facinating subject. I love it. Please tell me - are there any writings in stone there. We do a lot of glyph hunting, and from it have pieced together similiarities between a European form of stone writing and that which has been found here in the US. These symbols (such as sheep to represent people) are pretty universal, and pre-Moses, Mr. Sitchin made some interesting speculations regarding writing being given on the Mount with the laws. Prior to that man would have used pictures to write? We guess that he did. also, because the languages were confounded by the ETs, a well developed sign language was established, as some stone glyphs represent shapes easily made with the hand (such as "in" - hand cupped over with a fist inside, or dot if written on stone) used by native peoples here long after that language of signing was forgotten on the continent of Wurope or the near east.

What do you think??


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2001 2:53 am 
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Yes, there is a common knowledge, a common bond between all cultures. I do not know whether it was the Anunnaki who started or formed part of all this...but was is sure is that our perception of what Neolithic man has to be upgraded. The Sumerians were an advanced race...there method of writing and mathematical ingeniosity made the whole difference.
In Malta we have evidence that megalithic man was a sea-faring type of culture. In one of the small uprights in Tarxien we have incised a representation of megalithic boats which seem very similiar to pottery type of Serios and Kyrios. So the dissemination of information and mingling of cultures happened in this way....there is no doubt here.
As regards remains, a full size male skeletin was found near Hagar Qim temple. God only knows how many other burial sites there are still unearthed. The National Musuem of Archaeology is filled with artefacts pertaining to the temple period...fertility and cult objects, knives, the Tal-Qadi stine, pottery, necklaces etc.
One small point is that a small baby skeleton was found embedded in one of the niches at Mnajdra lower temple during excavation in the early 20th century. Unfortunately the sketon was removed...but never reached the museum...probably in some private collection, lost or thrown away. This information I derived from a certain man (Ellul) who had his great grandfather working with the excavation of the Mnajdra temple.
As regards stone writings we have none......A few months ago a certain Dr. Vella found glyphs near the Misqa tanks which is situated between Mnajdra and Hagar qim temples. This is the only place where the rock formation can hold water....evidence that these megalithic builders were experts in stone selection. Vella claims that there are glyphs...and he combines these with the Egyptian cult objects of Neckbet and the spirit of Ka. This is amazing...when one compares the two...that is the Maltese glyphs with the Egyptian glyphs there is a striking resemblance. As usual the archaeologists think that this is all speculation....but is this so?????
At Mnadjra one finds pitted design in both the summer and winter solstices slabs....we have the tree of life in the Hypogeum burial chamber.....a representation of fish, goats and bulls incised in small rock carvings......megalithic man was one of the first artists. he saw and interpreted nature in his own way. By the way I am also an artist and I have painted several paintings of megalithic structures in the way that i see them mingling with Christianity over time. My special genre is Surrealism...Long live DALI.


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