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This group of temples is situated in a densely inhabited quarter of Tarxien. It consists of three temples, the oldest of which, i.e. the North Temple, dates from the 4th millenium BC. The central unit (c. 3200BC.) is the latest of all known temples in these islands.

The central temple, the only one having three pairs of apses and a central niche, is in a relatively good state of preservation. The upright blocks, or orthostats, are skillfully shaped and placed, which suggests that great experience had been gained by the builders during the centuries that passed between the construction of this group of temples and the earliest ones at Mgarr and Ggantija.

Two libation holes, dug in the ground, can be seen on a slab near the trilithon entrance of the South Temple. "Libation" means the pouring of a liquid into such holes, as a sacrificial offering to appease the underground gods. In the right - hand apse there are stone slabs (copies) depicting rams, bulls and pigs in processional mood. The originals of these relics can be seen at the Archaeological Museum in Valletta.

One can also observe bar - holes on the jambs of doorways, which were probably used to extend sheets to screen the interior from public view. Very interesting are the stone rollers left outside the South temple. These were utilised to carry the huge blocks to the site. One such stone - ball still stands in place beneath the pavement in the central temple.

The Tarxien site was discovered in 1915, by Sir Themistocles Zammit, the eminent Maltese archaeologist. A quantity of vases, statues and other objects have been unearthed and now occupy a whole room at the Valletta museum.

The remains of a cremation cemetery have also been discovered at a higher level in the same temple area. The few primitive bronze implements found on this site testify to the presence of an early bronze age settlement in Malta.

Text courtesy of the National Tourism Organisation - Malta.