Hal Saflieni Hypogeum was discovered by accident in 1902 by a stone mason who was building the foundations of some houses. Immediately the Museums Department of the time took action where they discovered a wealth of archaeological material. It is situated at Paola in Ħal Saflieni Street.
A visitors center with a small exhibition and an audio-visual show will enhance your visit at the Hypogeum.
Three levels of chambers lying over each other were carved into soft globigerina limestone. Some of the chambers following the architectural features of the above-ground megalithic temples.
It extends over an area of about 500 (five hundred) square metres and reaching a maximum depth of about 11 (eleven) metres. The site has been dated between 4000 BC and was likely used until 2500 BC. This is all based on pottery and human findings on which examinations were carried out.
It is taught that it was used as a holy place with remains of 7000 individuals recorded during excavations.
The upper level is a burial complex where rock was dug out to form burial chambers. Here, remains of more than 7,000 human bones were discovered. The bodies were buried with various ornaments. Stone implements, flint tools, stone, alabaster and clay statuettes, and a great variety of personal ornaments like shell beads and precious stones were found.
The middle level consists of various chambers very smoothly finished, which give the impression of built masonry. The workmanship is all the more impressive when it is considered that the chambers were meticulously carved using only flint and stone tools. Impressive spiral paintings in red ochre are still visible in some areas.
This is the lowest level which is only seven steps down from the chamber. This area is known as the 'holy of hollies'. One of the niches in the 'oracle chamber' has the characteristic of echoing deep sounds. The carved facade is magnificent and the quality of its architecture is in a remarkable state of preservation.the chamber known as the holy of holies is a huge sculptured area, which looks very much like the megalithic temples built above the ground. More about this site which talks about elongated skulls.
A research is going to be conducted by Associate Professor Ronika Power of Maquarie University, Sydney who will work hand in hand with the local curators of the National Museum of Archaeology and the Prehistoric Sites Department of Heritage Malta.
Hypogeum of Malta forms part of the UNESCO underground heritage sites.
Hypogeum Malta is a unique must see attraction.