Is there evidence of intentionality of sky involvement in the prehistoric megalithic sites of Mnajdra in Malta?

Lomsdalen, Tore (2013) Is there evidence of intentionality of sky involvement in the prehistoric megalithic sites of Mnajdra in Malta? Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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Abstract

This dissertation addresses the question of whether the prehistoric Mnajdra Temples in Malta were intentionally constructed to face astronomical events in the sky. Using a combination of archeoastronomical fieldwork measurements, photography, phenomenology and experimental archaeoastronomy, the possibility that the temples were purposely built as a sacred site to pay respect and obeisance to the power of the cosmos is investigated. The role of the sky in the wider cosmology of the temple builders, living on an island where sea, earth and heavens were important elements, is also explored with recourse to the archaeological record of the Temple Period. It will be argued that the Mnajdra South Temple is the world’s oldest structure that seems to be intentionally aligned towards the oscillation of the rising sun throughout the year. The debate over whether the temple was intentionally built as a ‘solar calendar’ or a device to keep track of time and seasons is examined. The search for celestial intentionality behind the architecture of the Mnajdra complex has also led to a proposal of a redefined chronology for its construction, based on both archaeological and archaeoastronomical arguments. This redefined chronology suggests that there was continuous interest in the sun’s position throughout the one and a half millennia of its construction which substantiates the hypothesis that the temple was built with awareness of the movements of celestial bodies, especially the sun’s cyclical vitalising and animating effect on earthly life. The uniqueness of each temple’s distinct orientation may suggest an increasingly sophisticated knowledge of cosmology, alignments and horizon-based astronomy, implying an astronomically-based intentionality of the builders.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations.;10412/275.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sky, Malta, Prehistory
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2014 14:26
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2016 14:24
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/427

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