How An Advanced Ancient Civilization Mysteriously Vanished

How An Advanced Ancient Civilization Mysteriously Vanished

Long before the Parthenon of ancient Athens…
before the First Temple of Israel at Jerusalem … before even the earliest pyramids for
Egypt’s god-kings … a mysterious island civilization built some of history’s earliest
wonders. Malta is one of the world’s smallest countries,
so then how did it end up with so many of the world’s oldest monuments? Made up of two main islands, and three smaller
ones, the tiny country of Malta could fit inside the city of Philadelphia. But despite its size, it holds a wealth of
history. About 7,000 years ago, settlers from Sicily
arrived on Malta. A unique civilization grew up, and by 3600
BC, people on Malta began erecting monumental temples, some of the oldest stone buildings
in the world. For 1500 years, this culture thrived in isolation,
apparently free from external threats.Then, around 2000 BC, it faded away. Eventually, Malta became subsumed by the cultures
of its Mediterranean neighbors. The Temple People, as they’re known today,
only began to come to light in the nineteenth century, and archaeologists are still piecing
their story together. By about 4000 BC, people on the islands began
burying their dead in the cave complex known as the Xagħra (SHAH-rah) Circle on the northern
island of Gozo. The site must have been especially significant,
because the practice continued for centuries. But the limestone was prone to caving in,
so eventually the caretakers added support columns. Over time, the site gained more and more architectural
features, with a massive stone entrance, new compartments added for later burials, and
altars for sacrifices. The remains of an estimated 800 individuals
have been discovered at Xagħra. Priests or other participants disarticulated
the body parts, sorting skulls and other bones into separate compartments. But Xagħra was far from alone among the sacred
sites of ancient Malta. All told, there are about 20 major temples
complexes from a civilization that only occupied 122 square miles. Located next to Xagħra are the Ġgantija
(j-gan-TEE-yah) Temples. Appropriately enough, the Maltese word Ġgantija
refers to giants, who, according to folklore, built the colossal structures. You can understand the reasoning: the biggest
stone in this complex is estimated to weigh 50 tons. In reality, a significant workforce would
have to haul the blocks into place. And a clue to how they did it lies at another
temple site called Tarxien (tar-SHEEN), on the largest island, also called Malta. Tarxien, which includes four temple buildings,
dates to about 3100 BC, and includes the richest decoration of the sites. Relief carvings of animals and spiral patterns
adorn the spaces. The buildings follow the same general shape
as Ġgantija and the other temples of this early period. Before each building is an oval courtyard,
perhaps where the public would gather during ritual events. The imposing door frames are called trilithons:
two tall standing stones hold a horizontal lintel. Doors would have an animal hide cover, and
on the inside a central chamber leads to several circular rooms called apses—usually three—in
a cloverleaf pattern. Each apse would have been topped by corbels—layers
of decreasing size—to create partial domes. Animal remains indicate that sacrificial slaughter
took place in the temples. Many of the apses contain an altar. Holes in the floor would catch the blood. Clay and carved figures lay in the temples. The most characteristic statues of the early
phases are rounded female figures with exaggerated features, usually interpreted as fertility
symbols. But other shapes occur as well. At Xagħra, a cache of several stone idols
included some that were simple geometric forms and others with details like clothing and
hair. Outside Tarxien lie several stone rollers—essentially
long wheels—as if waiting for curious archaeologists trying to figure out the ancient Maltese construction
methods. But the history of transportation on Malta
also held an odd puzzle. Parallel grooves in the limestone criss-cross
the island, almost resembling a primitive railroad. One recent experiment seems to show that they
were formed by the repeated journeys of wagons. Thin soil, moisture and pressure wore away
the rock, eventually making a path unusable and forcing people to take another route. The whole island was under pressure. Soon after people arrived, most of the trees
were cleared for farmland. The thin soil soon began eroding, which would
remain a challenge for Malta up to the present day. At one especially remarkable site, chipping
away at Malta’s limestone bedrock enabled an architectural marvel, the underground tomb
complex, or Hypogeum (high-puh-JEE-uhm) of Ħal Saflieni (hah sah-FEE-nee). The remains of more than 6,000 people were
interred here, arranged into piles totaling 200,000 bones. The entire structure was carved in place out
of the limestone, with elements like columns imitating the structural elements in the above-ground
temples.The uppermost layer began with the sculpting of existing caves. Over time, the Temple People carved additional
chambers in two descending layers.The second level contains spaces for rituals, including
a room known as the “Holy of Holies,” which shows the same kind of corbelled dome ceiling
as the temples. Researchers have detected that the space emits
a low resonant sound, barely audible. According to their theory, the acoustics of
sacred places such as this added to the spiritual experience, as the ritual-goers’ bodies picked
up the vibrations. The shaking itself may be the result of tectonic
activity: Malta lies right on the boundary between the European and African plates of
the Earth’s crust.In any case, the Hypogeum creates echoes of extraordinary length. But why so many elaborate temples in such
a small area? According to the archaeologists who excavated
the Xagħra Circle, there may have been a social competition going on, with each community
showing a kind of civic pride in their lavish construction. Enormous energy went into the digging of a
necropolis or the sliding of multi-ton slabs. All the while, the agricultural productivity
may not have been keeping up. Another enigma: the Temple People seem to
have gotten most of their food from the land, and to have consumed very little seafood. Toward the end of the era of the Temple People,
a prized imported red pigment from Sicily seems to have become less available, perhaps
indicating an economic slump. The social collapse in the archaeological
record shows up at 2500 BC, when all monumental construction stops. A transition begins to a completely different
culture, marked by the cremation of the dead. Ecological decline may have played a role. There’s no evidence of an invasion, or an
epidemic. What remains shows the complete cycle of a
civilization that flourished, and then returned, like its own dead, to the Earth. What do you think it would take for a whole
civilization to collapse? Let us know in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
called “The Fall of Constantinople” Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

100 thoughts on “How An Advanced Ancient Civilization Mysteriously Vanished

  1. Infographics and other sources :

    Ancient aliens: Archaeologist suggest that aliens helped them with their technology

  2. they went to the same place all the GODS went to. (…they never existed at all, and stories from people who are full of it, are still a problem today)

  3. I'm not sure if the opening of this vid reminded me of the Big Bang Theory or Monty Pythons life of brian first.

  4. Maltese agriculture in decline to this day?
    You do know that they've been exporting potatoes to Europe for over a century? Some grocery stores in Ireland (Cork) preferentially stocked Maltese potatoes in the 1980s and '90s.
    Guy — just talk about what is known and currently surmised about ancient Malta, skip the fill.

  5. Hi, this is so awesome, I'm from malta and I love the way you pronounce things (yes they're all wrong) I'm hoping to shed some light on our very small but significant island! Most historic sights are now either being restored or have unfortunately been broken down, specifically most of the xaghra (pronounced xaj-ra) temples are basically non existent with minimal rocks left. Hagar qim is a very popular sight which is the only cave which hasn't been touched, another sighting in gozo or (ghawdex) is the Azure window which has unfortunately fallen last year. Thanks for the video!

  6. Hold on, the Anglo Saxons made stonecircles just like that (not Stonehenge, that was the celts). It either served a religious agriculture or both reason

  7. Well they could of been peacefull how do we know there wasnt war i mean if someone with an army was like yooo and just came and rounded the stone builders up like your comming with us time to work and stone was all the rage back then i like the comment about sea level to……………………..i didnt actually think about that but i mean thats hard to go off thou dont some areas just like drop off

  8. 0:40 wait a minute the Egyptian pyramids what's around for 10,000 years or more and it wasn't for God's it was a city run electricity you got to get your facts right 💯

  9. Collapse of a Civilization can be caused by many factors. The first could be a change in religion, in that area directly or indirectly the effects of Volcanic or earth quake activity. Another could be like the Peasant's Revolt in England, with the people getting fed up with the ruling class.
    There are many reasons why it could happen. I think crop failure and the ruling class demanding a large part of what was raised caused social shift.
    A long with invaders who just took over as no one wanted to fight fot what they saw as a corrupt system

  10. if anyone’s thinking of visiting malta go to the war tunnels and rooms in valletta! my mother is maltese and we visit the island nearly every year. such a beautiful country and full of amazing architecture and culture

  11. Interesting their building style is similar to stone henge and other stone circles in UK and also the circles in UK are the same age as the demise in Malta

  12. What do I think it would take for a civilization to collapse? Easy, an unchecked, maniac in The White House. Hold on, isn’t… oh boy, we’re toast.

  13. Seems to be a lesson here: they spent so much on building houses of the dead, they could no longer support the living.

  14. Considering ancient masterpieces like Gilgamesh and Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, I wonder what kind of great literature they had

  15. They didnt disappear, we are the ancient advanced civilizations. But along they way we lost the clues to how we got where we are

  16. I'm getting pretty annoyed with "scientists" thinking that the discovery of human and animal remains was due to "sacrifice". It wasn't !!! The timing is suspect on their estimation of when these structures were built and destroyed but, if it follow the dating for the rest of the destruction, from the West Coast of Africa to the Gobi Desert, the estimate should be anywhere from 1,500 BC to 900 BC. The Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, Buddhist, Inca and Mayan write of this period. It was a time when all of the ancient Empires, Kingdoms, Cities and civilizations just abruptly disappear and man enters a 300 year dark age. Something unimaginable , impossible and terrifying happened across the face of the earth and the proof is everywhere. And, as for the Grand Canyon??? That WAS NOT carved by millions of years of erosion. Just use Google Earth to travel along the Colorado River. There are thousands of geological patterns and formations that blow the erosion theory out of the water.

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