The Republic of Malta consists of two main islands, Malta and Gozo, with a third, much smaller island called Comino lying between the two larger islands. This small nation of 122 square miles stands at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea roughly halfway between the Italian mainland and North Africa.

Here, around 3600BC, the megalithic people of the area began to raise a series of structures at places such as Ggantija on Gozo and Tarxien on Malta, that are generally accepted to be the oldest free-standing buildings on earth. At Ggantija there are two temples oriented to the winter solstice, both of which have 5 semi-circular rooms that have megaliths for walls, some of which weigh over 50 tonnes and are over 24 square metres in size. No one is quite sure how these stones were manipulated into place, though some of the stones at Tarxien give a clue. Round stones the size of cannonballs, and described as such by one visitor, lay gathered together near the site entrance. Some of the megaliths have a circular hole near one corner, into which the “cannonball” fitted, as in a ball and socket joint. The theory is that the larger stone could be trundled along using the smaller one as a wheel, though the problem still exists as to how the megalith would be lifted into place and how many people were required to make sure it stayed there!

Extract from the book – Julian’s Journeys