It was only after another decade that the area received its merited consideration when an examination of the remains was conducted by Professor Bonanno, who proceeded to describe and propose an explanation for the finds . A few prehistoric sherds and the remains of a statuette surviving in part were also found in the area.
Despite the humble nature of the remains, the site is one of considerable importance. The megaliths and the adjoining rubble wall still enclose about a metre of deposit, offering a unique opportunity for the study of the islands’ prehistory. Due to its archaeological potential the temple at l-Iklin could easily follow the remains at Borg il-Gharib, Borg l-Imramma and l-Imrejsbiet in joining the list of Class A scheduled buildings.
Examination of the immediate area around the field, indicates that the remains probably extended to the north for a number of metres. Excavation here might reveal the true nature of these remains. Future studies at the site will confirm or refuse the identification of the remains as those of a temple. They may also shed new light on the anomalous ‘orientation’ of the remains and possibly provide a new insight into the understanding of similar temple period structures.
The remains at L-Iklin are not the only prehistoric remains in the area. The exterior wall of a megalithic temple’s is still standing at Ta’Raddiena, unnoticed by the hundreds of car drivers passing through the B’Kara bypass daily. The occurrence of two sites within a kilometre of each other is no mere coincidence.
Through the insights gained from excavations at the Xaghra Stone Circle, it is likely that the area around these structures was in use by a temple period community over 4500 years ago. The occurrence of these communities often reveals itself through clustering of megalithic sites. Temples like modern parish churches provided rival locations for ritual display, contrasting with burial monuments which provided unity within a community.
This situation is best appreciated at Xaghra, where a number of temple remains (Ggantija, Ghar ta’ Ghejzu, Santa Verna) are found on the same plateau surrounding a single burial monument identified in the Xaghra stone circle. Similarly the area around the grand harbour has the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum as the burial ground for a number of temples (five at Kordin and the Tarxien temples). This analogy continues at Xemxija were a single burial site is found in the proximity of a two known megalithic sites.
The relevance to the remains at Iklin and Tar-Raddiena should immediately be apparent: if these megaliths are the last remains of prehistoric temples, than the surrounding area still hides an as yet undiscovered burial ground.
Copyright: Anton Bugeja
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