Malta Diary Was Malta ever a part of Sicily? Scientists and geologists say definitely not
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History has it that before the start of World War II when Benito Mussolini had Italy in his grip, he obviously concluded that neighbouring Malta, in the centre of the Mediterranean and then a British Colony, formed part of the Italian “mainland empire” because of its geographical closeness (just over 100 miles away from the foot of Sicily) and because of a very strong pro-Italian movement in Malta at the time, as well as the great volume of people of Sicilian and Italian descent, together with an adoption of Italian culture, cuisine, etc.
To bring his aspirations to fruition without Italy having to invade Malta, he ordered a team of archaeologists, historians and geologists to travel to Malta and to investigate and bring back proof that in fact, in the echelons of time, Malta had been a part of Sicily.
The result has it that the team’s final conclusions overwhelmed “Il Duce” in that not only was Malta not and had never been a part of Sicily, but in addition, civilization had taken root in Malta well before that of Sicily! Yes, around the Stone Age era, Sicilian farmers had migrated to Malta and taken up residence there, but they found an existing civilization and adapted to it. To further emphasise there had never been any kind of bridge between Malta and Sicily, animal species which are now mainly extinct were abundant in Malta but were never present in Sicily.
The whole evidence showed a definite land bridge between Malta and North Africa but no evidence of a land bridge with Sicily – including the Semitic Language which although later infiltrated by Latin and Italian, was totally different to the Latin tongue – having ensured that when St Paul of Tarsus (a Roman citizen) was shipwrecked in Malta on his way to Rome, he proclaimed the inhabitants to be “Barbarians”, and thus not of Latin descent but of Semitic origins – which in fact were Phoenician.
A pioneer of the past origins of the Maltese Islands was the Maltese doctor and archaeologist Sir Temi Zammit at a time when he was Curator of the Archaeological Museum and sites like the Tarxien Temples, the Hypogeum and Ghar Dalam were excavated in the course of his work at the turn into the 20th Century.
Now, a trio of specialists has formed an alliance, eager to determine the state of the Maltese Islands BEFORE the excavations of Sir Temi Zammit. They are collaborating in a study to determine the life of the Maltese Islands BEFORE the construction of the Neolithic temples.
A team of archaeologists and geologists will now be investigating in detail the dynamics that characterised the Maltese Islands during prehistory, the aim being to establish information of how our then ancestors lived, on the animals that existed in those times as well the geomorphology of the Maltese Archipelago.
Dr. Nicholas Vella from Malta University’s Archaeological Department said this was a period when, as with other Mediterranean countries, Malta began viewing archaeological finds through scientific lenses not simply as a hobby but in a professional study manner.
Dr. Vella said that Dr Żammit mainly concentrated on the excavations of Neolithic temples.
He continued saying that it is certain that the Islands were inhabited at least 6,000 BC by farmers and various finds related to them have been found in different areas, the most famous result being the later construction of the Neolithic temples and thus nearer our time.
This is what motivated the team to research the prehistoric void on the period before colonisation by Sicilian farmers, that is, the prehistoric period. Dr Vella said current research into this period is not adequate enough and many theories have been formulated, mainly baseless.
Dr Ritienne Gauci, from the University’s Geological Department, said the pre-Neolithic period had been a time of considerable changes to the coastline formation of the Islands. She said that after the Glacier Period 20,000 years ago, the Maltese countryside underwent various strong geomorphologic and geological changes.
She said great changes took place when various parts of the coastline rose to greater height and thus the coastline underwent changes and hence the landmass became disconnected and the migratory process of species began to change while the climate began to change and these factors affected the coastline.
Professor Eleanor Scerri from the Max Planck Institute in Germany is collaborating in the project and said that studies of the period have established that at the time Malta was completely distinct from Sicily and the Islands contained species of animals that were unique to the Islands. However, there is as yet no indication as to how these animals arrived and adapted to the environment.
She said the species of animals in Sicily at the time was different to those species found in the Maltese Islands and this has led scientists to conclude there was never a bridge link between Malta and Sicily.
Professor Scerri said the animals found in Sicily at the time completely differed to those found on the Islands. She said that from Għar Dalam and Wied Inċita for example, we know that there were giant swans and pygmy deer as well as pygmy hippos and pygmy elephants and the development of natural history in Malta was not an extension of the development in Sicily but was of an unique nature and that 10,000 years ago the Maltese Islands were more akin to the Galapagos Islands in the Mediterranean and the animals present were greatly diverse.
My conclusions are the research team will definitely establish a land bridge between the Maltese Islands and the North African coast as mainly evidenced through the finds at Ghar Dalam, but there was never a land bridge between Malta and Sicily and that in fact Malta’s natural development preceded that of Sicily and the later arrival of Sicilian farmers.
As for Benito “Il Duce” Mussolini, yes, he did great stuff to resurrect Italy to its former glories, BUT his cardinal mistake was to tie Italy to Hitler’s Nazism and the Maltese Islands played a great part in WWII to expose and defeat his colossal error.
“Pepper in the eyes”
Said of a person who tries to impose an opinion or a situation but in the eyes of the recipient beholder this is just misleading data and information to obscure the true facts.