Intact Tomb Dating Back To Malta’s Earliest Settlers Unearthed In Żejtun
An intact skeleton and pottery remains were found during the excavation of a Punic tomb in Għaxaq, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage has announced.
The rock-cut tomb was discovered during archaeological monitoring on a plot of land that is planned for development and is close to other tombs discovered in the 1990s along Tal-Barrani Road, on the border between Għaxaq and Żejtun.
It consisted of a rock-cut shaft and chamber tomb and was found sealed with a sealing slab.
The Heritage Data Management and Research Unit within the SCH found a skeleton and pottery vessels within the tomb, which will be studied by osteologists to determine more information about the person; whether they were male or female, how old they were when they died and whether they may have had any illnesses.
Archaeologists will also study the pottery to more accurately date the burial.
The SCH said that the tomb has been documented and will be given protection in line with the 2019 Cultural Heritage Act.
It will also be listed in the national inventory, adding further data in the understanding of the area’s archaeological landscape.
“The Consultations Unit within the Superintendence will continue to be vigilant with development applications in this area, as will the Monitoring Unit when directing monitoring surveillance work in the surrounding region through freelance archaeologists who monitor development works,” the SCH said.
The area is known to be highly archaeologically sensitive, with clusters of tombs previously discovered along Tal-Barrani.
In 1965, three Punic rock-cut tombs were uncovered in the Tal-Ħotba area on agricultural land while in 2009 a further 14 rock-cut tombs were discovered during initial construction works on a private hospital.
In 1993, a late Roman burial site was also discovered along Tal-Barrani in Żejtun, with two multi-chamber catacombs discovered intact only 10 metres apart.