Early human civilizations built stone temples in Malta over 5,000 years ago which today remain some of the oldest existing free-standing structures in the world. The enigmatic Tal-Qadi Stone was discovered in 1927 at Tal-Qadi, one such megalithic temple in Malta. The Tal-Qadi stone is a broken shard of limestone measuring 29cm by 23.5cm and 5cm deep but is believed to have once been part of a larger circular piece, with this shard adjoining the center. The face of the shard is divided into five radial segments, into four of which are etched seven-pointed stars in various constellations. It is believed that the larger piece would have had these segments circling its entire face. While most archaeologists who have studied it agree it was likely a star map or moon calendar, its rather ambiguous design and incompletion make it difficult to definitively identify.
However, there are some researchers who believe the Tal-Qadi stone actually depicts an an early form of the Zodiac constellations of Scorpio, Virgo and Leo. At the forefront is Dr. Kai Helge Wirth, a geographer and “art scientist” who has self-published several works on the Tal-Qadi stone. In a recent publication, Wirth claims that the Tal-Qadi stone is actually the world’s earliest representation of the Zodiac and could prove that early civilizations had contact with one another long before generally believed to have done so.
Wirth’s work is based in a large part on a lesser-known Sir Isaac Newton work titled The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended which ties the histories of European civilizations to Greek myths and astrology. In it, Newton claims that the shapes of the Zodiac constellations corresponded to the topography of different shorelines around the world. These constellations were “projected” onto the stars by early sailors, Newton claims, in order to help them navigate. The book today is grouped with Newton’s “occult studies,” a bizarre collection of pseudo scientific or mystical studies conducted by the astronomer, mathematician, and theologian. To test Newton's theory, Wirth and a colleague will set sail on an early Phoenician boat and attempt to navigate the Mediterranean Sea using only a replica of the Tal-Qadi stone.
Could this stone be proof of Newton’s ‘occult’ belief that the signs of the Zodiac represent ancient sailors' knowledge of shorelines? It’s a pretty fascinating theory, and if proven true could revolutionize our understanding of human history. Whatever the case may be, objects like the Tal-Qadi stone show that symbols like the Zodiac signs get passed down throughout history for a reason. While we might forget their meanings, preserving them keeps us connected to the long, sometimes hidden history of the human world. Who knows what secrets may lie both deep in our collective unconscious and out in the open in long-forgotten symbols?