About seven thousand years ago, men came to the Island of Malta, using rafts and bringing with them livestock, utensils and seed. They occupied the archipelago and developed a community which was well established during the Neolithic Age.
Different kinds of pottery, even from the earliest Ghar Dalam phase, indicate that there were farmers and stock raisers as well as fishermen among those people who must have been of Eastern Mediterranean origin though they came from Sicily. Their pottery work indicate that they soon started to develop their own identity. Though the earliest amongst them must have used caves for living and burial, village communities quickly appeared as can be seen especially from the remains of Skorba and Borg in-Nadur.
The Maltese Neolithic communities developed their crafts and particularly their ability to produce and decorate pottery and to carve stone and build magnificent megalithic temples. They also dug burial grounds and underground temple at Hal Saflieni (Paola), known as the Hypogeum, implying a cult of Dead.
The temples of Mgarr, Tarxien, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and Ggantija are megalithic remains which stand out as evidence of the fact that life centred round the religious cult of the Mother Goddess represented by massive statues commonly referred to as 'The Fat Lady'. A priestly order dominated the people especially through its oracles.
The pre-historic settlers of Malta remained shrouded in mystery until some time in the Ninth century B.C. Phoenician seafarers came to the Island and colonised it.
Key Dates in Maltese Prehistory
Before 5200 BC - Arrival of man in Malta. Circa 3600 BC - Construction of megalithic buildings Circa 2500-2000 BC - End of the megalithic temple period Circa 2000 BC - First invasion of bronze-using people. Circa 1400 BC - Second invasion of bronze-using people. Circa 900-750 BC - The end of the prehistoric period. Arrival of the Phoenicians.