The fact that the Hypogeum was built in 2500 BC
Thanks for trying Clyde but I don't "buy it". The Hypogeum contains 3 levels from different periods - Upper level (3600-3300 BC), Middle level (3300-3000 BC) and Lower level (3150 -2500 BC). It certainly was not "built in 2500BC"
The arrival of the Bronze Age in Malta (which needs to be differentiated from the timing of the Bronze age elsewhere) was a major change point (and not a good example of the gradual transition which makes it particulalrly difficult to assign arbitrary "man made" periods) and older structures such as Tarxien Temples clearly show the superimposition of a completely different culture with different funerary practices. In particular the Early Bronze age in Malta utilised Cremation.
Mr Pace, who is currently Malta's "Superintendant of Cultural Heritage" having been Director of Museums Department makes it quite clear that the Temple Phase (during which the Hypogeum was constructed across all its phases) is not even early Bronze Age in Malta. On page 20 of his book about the Hypogeum (ISBN 978-99932-27-00-7) he states (after describing the construction of all the earlier levels through to the Tarxien Phase of the Neolithic "Temple Period" which latter phase included "above ground" extensions)
(my caps and bold) phases during which the Hypogeum was in use are not so well understood. Notions of culture change involving the passage from the Late Neolithic to the Bronze age are still conditioned by the lack of information.... The entire culture of the temple period, the arts, buildings, monuments, aesthetics, religious beliefs and burial customs seem to have gone out of use.... The recent excavations at the Hypogeum show that the monument sustained a level of activity during the Tarxien Cemetary Bronze Age (2500 BC) The evidence raises a number of questions especially with regard to the respect of the ancient underground cemetery during the new age of metals. To date the cremation cemetery overlying part of the Tarxien temples a few hundred metres away from the Hypogeum suggests a total departure from the old burial customs that had marked the enitre span of the Late Neolithic"
So, although the Maltese Early Bronze age cultures made use of the earlier temples
a. That use is not yet really understood and could NOT have been a major factor in the case for the inscription of the Hypogeum which must depend on the main periods of construction and use of the monument rather than on some only partially understood late uses.
b. The Hypogeum itself is clearly a Neolithic structure from the Maltese Temple period which pre-dates the Bronze age in both technology and in human practices and beliefs.
I still believe that there is a major discrepancy between what the AB evaluation and the UNESCO Web site say about the Hypogeum and the reality of its historical status as stated by experts in the subject - "This unique monument dates back to early antiquity(about 2500 BC). It is the only known example of a subterranean structure of the Bronze age"
You hint that maybe Malta didn't want to nominate too many Neolithic sites - of course Ggantija was inscribed in the same year but that TOO was described as being from the Bronze age in its AB evaluation!!