Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Malta: Islands of Giants

A figure from the Xagħra Stone Circle on Gozo
Photo: Garry Shaw
As many of you know, as well as my Egyptology work I also write travel articles. My latest article for Timeless Travels magazine is about the Neolithic monuments of Malta.

Here's the opening paragraph:

"Once upon a time, Sansuna, a giantess on the island of Gozo, went to the town of Ta’ Cenc, placed huge stones upon one of her shoulders and carried them 4 km to their current resting place at Ġgantija, "the Place of Giants". A multi-tasker, she did this while holding her half-giant, half-human baby over the other shoulder. Taking these heavy stones, she then built the temple complex of Ġgantija and afterwards allowed the local people to worship within. More unusually, and perhaps irrelevant to the story (but hey, it’s often the little details that make a tale believable), she lived exclusively on broad beans and honey (though some versions replace the honey with water). As old legends go, it’s an entertaining one but it’s not the only explanation for Ġgantija's megalithic prehistoric temple complex. I had also read that it had served as a defensive tower, again built by a race of giants (naturally)."

You can download a pdf of the article here: Islands of Giants