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16 September 2007
Bronze age settlement found in Malta

A series of tombs and silos, probably dating back to the Bronze Age and early Roman period, have been discovered on the site set to become the new US Embassy, in Ta' Qali (Malta). A team of nine archaeologists and students have been working at the site since August in a bid to survey the area as thoroughly as possible because a number of the structures - which are in very bad shape - may now be buried again under the new embassy. In fact, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority gave its final seal of approval after the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage certified there was no need for the artefacts to be kept on display.
     During an onsite visit, Cultural Superintendent Nathaniel Cutajar said the findings had been given a C grade, which in layman's terms means they could now be buried again, but not destroyed. The US Embassy is not yet sure what it will do, yet it is possible the finds will remain exposed and incorporated in the landscaping since the embassy will only take up a small portion of the land. The embassy's general services officer, Joseph Runyon, said, however, there are plans to exhibit small artefacts that have been recovered from the site.
     So far, the embassy has funded the archaeological studies, which are likely to cost about Lm7,000. Four tombs and 17 silos have been found but there may be more. Even though the findings are still being processed, it seems that people had originally settled there in the Bronze Age but there is evidence to suggest it was populated during early Roman times. Unfortunately, the tombs in particular suffered extensive damage over the years. Besides having been quarried in the 1800s, the site was levelled off and developed, to be used eventually as the counting hall during general elections. Little more than a few inches is left of the once storey-high tombs, for instance.

Source: The Times of Malta (15 September 2006)

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