Ggantija Phase Tomb - Xemxija  

Detail of Tomb1 at Xemxija
Burial in the Ggantija Phase continues in the shaft and chamber tomb style established by the Zebbug Phase culture. A notable difference, however, is the occurrence of a number of pillars found at the side of the chambers. Their role is not difficult to interpret. As tombs became larger, the possibility of roof collapse was ever more imminent. By keeping a number of pillars projecting from the sides of the chamber, the general stability of the roof was ensured.

The importance of these pillars goes beyond their presence at Xemxija. Their occurrence imparted a lobed appearance to the chamber itself, probably influencing the shape of the early megalithic temples.

The method of burial in this phase was not dissimilar from that occurring in tombs of the earlier culture. Finds from the Xemxija tomb included remains of a deer, and if this find was of local origin, it signifies the persistence of a forested Malta at least until 3600 BC. The human remains gathered from this tombs were interpreted as belonging to an elite community.

At this phase another change occurs. Tombs were often accompanied by a number of megalithic above the tombs themselves, a change which later developed in the Megalithic Remains found associated with burial hypogea such as those found at Hal Saflieni and Xaghra.  

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