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10 January 2011
Maltese prehistoric site scheduled to stand

The MEPA (Malta Environment & Planning Authority) board confirmed the scheduling of a prehistoric site and turned down appeals to have the scheduling reconsidered.
     In the area around Ħagra ta' Sansuna in Xagħra lie the remains of a prehistoric temple. A man who owns nearby land said that the buffer zone negatively affected the value of his land, while another compared the scheduling to expropriation, and cited antiquity scholars John Evans and David Trump who expressed doubts about the site.
     But the Heritage Planning Unit representative pointed out that land value was not a consideration when sites were scheduled, and pointed out that Evans and Trump doubted what the site was, (i.e. whether it is the remains of a Neolithic temple or a Bronze Age menhir/dolmen), but not its archaeological value. It should also be pointed out that in the 1968 National Ordinance Survey Maps, the site is indicated as a Neolithic Monument.
     HPU also said the objector is incorrect in stating that there are no associated finds. During the widening of Triq Ġnien Imrik in 1946, a stone mortar used for corn grinding together with a number of prehistoric sherds were discovered and hastily re-buried. The MEPA board subsequently unanimously voted to keep the scheduling as is.

Edited from The Malta Independent (10 January 2011)

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