At Ghajn Zejtuna, near the coast, there are the remains of a
megalithic temple. Today only part of this structure remains.
The discovery of this megalithic structure goes back to1934, when
Flight Lt. R. Forbes Bentley reported to the Museums Department
the discovery of the ruins of a minor megalithic building at Ghajn
Zejtuna. According to the archaeological report of that period,
the ruins that were found were hardly sufficient to give them
the outline of the original plan. In their report they say that
the megaliths were inclined so as to form three circular enclosures
which open on a rectangular space in the centre of the building.
They reported that its main entrance was probably from the East.
The structure comprised a circular enclosure, measured about 3.30
metres from its entrance to the back wall, and 1.50 metres in
width. At that time the remains of an outer wall were still recognizable.
The report continues that the largest standing megalith measured
some 1.40 metres in height, 1.60 metres in length and 0.70 cm
in thickness. On the other hand, the rest of the stones were a
couple of inches from the soil. A number of Stone Age potsherds
and fragments of chirt were recovered from among the rubble. Unfortunately,
as these remains were found very close to the shore they could
be reached by the sea, so very little soil was left round the
Some twenty-five years later, archaeologist J. D. Evans in his
book stated that these remains could be a trefoil-shaped monument
in the style of the larger temple at Mgarr or Kordin III. Evans
reported also that he could not find any material from this site
and that it had been eroded away by the sea. 3
At this period and many years later, villas were built in this
valley and many believed that these remains were lost forever.
Fortunately, in recent times, this megalithic building or more
precisely what remained was found by archaeologist Ernest Vella
and Nixxiegha Kulturali. Unfortunately, part of this temple was
destroyed by the building, but the remainder is still preserved.
These consist of number of large rocks and two apses. However,
the rocks were all over-turned. 4
1 Government of Malta, ‘Archaeological Section’, Museum
Annual Report 1934-35.
3 J. D. Evans. The Prehistoric antiquities of the Maltese islands:
A survey, University of London The Athlone Press, Great Britain,
1971, p 29.
4 Ernest Vella., ‘Il-Wirt Arkeologiku tal-Qedem’,
Joe Catania (ed), Il-Mellieha: Mal-Milja taz-Zmien, Kunsill Lokali
Mellieha, Malta, 2002, pp 28-29.
Researched and Written by: Charles
Debono B.A.(Hons) History