Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

Malta, Malta

Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum

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The Hypogeum of Ħal Saflieni is a Neolithic subterranean structure dating to the Saflieni phase (3300 – 3000 BC) in Maltese prehistory, located in Paola, Malta. It is often simply referred to as the Hypogeum (Maltese: Ipoġew), literally meaning "underground" in Greek. The Hypogeum is thought to have been a sanctuary and necropolis, with the remains of more than 7,000 people documented by archeologists, and is among the best preserved examples of the Maltese temple building culture that also produced the Megalithic Temples and Xagħra Stone Circle.

The Hypogeum was discovered by accident in 1902 when workers cutting cisterns for a new housing development broke through its roof. The workers tried to hide the temple at first, but eventually it was found. The study of the structure was first conducted by Manuel Magri, who directed the excavations on behalf of the Museums Committee, starting from November 1903. During the excavations, a portion of the contents of the Hypogeum, including grave goods and human remains, were emptied out and discarded without being properly catalogued. To confound things further, Magri died in 1907 while conducting missionary work in Tunisia and his report on the Hypogeum was lost.




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