Culture
Made of hard stuff! Vintage video clip shows quarry workers on site at Hagar Qim
Back-breaking work!

Sarah Micallef

The Maltese Islands are known for their iconic yellow limestone, which features within some of its grandest historic buildings, as well as the oldest surviving stone structures – not just on the islands, but in the world. 

This recently unearthed video clip featuring a spotlight on the island’s stone shows a rare glimpse of the back-breaking work carried out in local quarries by past generations and has drawn the admiration of many on social media.

The colonial-style voiceover gives an indication of the possible date of the clip, and narrates the scenes showcasing local men which appear to be hard at work. “The island is a perfect paradise for the geologist and treasures from the stone age are still to be found in all parts of the island,” the narrator explains.

Moving on to showcase an area of standing stones, one soon realises that what they’re looking at is Hagar Qim Temples – a UNESCO megalithic temple complex which is considered to be among the most ancient religious sites on Earth.

Here, the voiceover states “you can still see what was evidently a vast temple, with aisles, sometimes roofed. The ruins of massive staircases are also visible, as well as the wall of what might have marked the confines of the temple grounds. At one end of the wall is a quaint seat resembling a throne.”

Later in the clip, the neighbouring Mnajdra temples, located approximately 500 metres from Hagar Qim, also receive a feature, at which point the voiceover notes, “if you would delve into the dim distant past friend, here’s how,” before the clip ends.



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