Archaeology

Għar Dalam Cave & Museum

Click on the images to zoom

The cave of darkness

Għar Dalam means ‘Cave of darkness’ in Maltese. The cave is 145-metre cavity of which the first 50 metres publicly accessible. The animal bones found within are evident proof that Malta was once linked to Sicily and to mainland Europe by a land bridge.

Dwarf elephants, bears and wolves

A huge number and variety of paleontological treasures have been unearthed from Għar Dalam, including the remains of dwarf elephants and hippopotami. These animals were trapped in Malta during the ice age when the sea-level rose to isolate the country from Sicily. The marooned animals subsequently evolved to smaller size in order to adapt themselves to a more limited food-supply. The cave has also surrendered the remains of bears, wolves, micro-mammals and giant flightless swans.

The first human inhabitants

Għar Dalam served as a human habitation 7,400 years ago, and later as a cattle pen. As well as human remains, archaeologists have unearthed primitive earthenware, stone axes, shell beads, flint and obsidian flakes, bone-points and the bones of domestic animals.

Don’t miss

  • The atmospheric experience of Għar Dalam cave itself.
  • The stalagmites and stalactites.
  • The elephant molars and hippopotamus tusks in the adjacent museum.
  • The jaw of an extinct brown bear.
  • The remains of a unique breed of deer that evolved goat-like feet to negotiate Malta’s stony terrain.

Address

Zejtun Road, Birzebbuga, Malta.

View on Google Maps

 

Public transport

  • Bus 82 from Valletta main bus terminus and get off one stop before St George’s Bay in Birzebbuga.

Opening hours

  • Mon - Sun from 9am to 5pm.
  • Last admission at 4.30pm.
  • Closed on 24, 25 & 31 Dec, 1 Jan, Good Friday.

Entrance

  • €5 adults, €3.50 concessions, €2.50 children.

Telephone

+356 21657419

Email

info@heritagemalta.org

Web

www.heritagemalta.org