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The Truth, And Some Other Stuff, Is Out There November 9, 1999
by Mark Rose

[image] Ggantija and the other Maltese megalithic temples are not the work of alien beings, recent claims not withstanding. (Mark Rose) [LARGER IMAGE right] [LARGER IMAGE left][image]

Hubert Zeitlmair, a retired German real-estate investor, first went to Malta in 1993. Inspired by the 5,500-year-old megalithic temples he saw on Malta and Gozo and by the books of Zecharia Sitchin, who believes aliens are behind those and other early monuments, Zeitlmair began his own investigations. His crusade culminated in the discovery, at 10:00 AM on July 13, of what he believes are the submerged ruins of a megalithic temple. The discovery was anounced at a meeting of the Paleo Astronaut Society in Augsberg, Germany, on August 18. An "official" web site about the big find includes the translation of an article from the Maltese newspaper iL Mument and an interview with Zeitlmair that appeared in Maltamag. The supposed ruins are said to be eight to 15 meters (26 to 49 feet) deep on a plateau about one-and-one-half miles off the city of Sliema on Malta's east coast. Although no plan of the "temple" is given on the web site, it is described as similar to the temples known on land, with an interior corridor off which are kidney-shaped rooms six to seven meters (22 to 23 feet) in diameter. The walls are said to be preserved to a height of four to six meters (13 to nearly 20 feet).

Chronology appears to be somewhat confused in Zeitlmair's interpretation. According to the web site, he sees links between the submerged "temple" and both Noah's Flood and the rise in sea level following the end of the Ice Age (the period to which, he told Maltamag, he hopes studies will show the Maltese temples date). Furthermore, the presence of deeper sand deposits on the west side of the "ruins," the side toward Gibraltar, than on the east side is taken as an indication that the flooding of the Mediterranean by Atlantic waters (which really did occur) was involved in the inundation of the "temple." The Mediterranean flooding, however, took place some five million years ago. As to the builders of the temples, Zeitlmair defers to Zechariah Sitchin.

The Maltese Museum Department's archaeology curator Ruben Grima has visited the site, and was unconvinced that the stones on the seafloor are indeed a temple, according to archaeologist Anthony Bonanno of the University of Malta. Bonanno himself is skeptical of the find, noting that even if there is a submerged structure it does not mean the temples need to be re-dated.

© 1999 by the Archaeological Institute of America