A tomb dating back to the Punic era was unearthed in Żejtun, adding another priceless clue to the rich yet mysterious archaeological past of Malta.
It was excavated by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, following its discovery in an archaeology monitoring exercise, as the plot is planned to be developed.
The millennia-old artefact was located close to other previously discovered tombs along Triq Tal-Barrani in Żejtun.
Luckily it was found intact and sealed, consisting of a rock-cut shaft, chamber tomb and a sealing slab. Inside, a skeleton together with some pottery vessels was retrieved, which archaeological experts will clean and study to try date the burial.
“In the coming weeks the osteologists will study the skeleton to see if it belongs to a male or female, how old the person was at death, any illness the person may have as well as other data.,” the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage wrote upon the discovery.
The tomb has been documented and will be protected as per the Cultural Heritage Act 2019 and will be listed in the National Inventory.
The Phoenicians were some of the earliest inhabitants in Malta, known to have settled in around 750 BC. Considered a maritime power, they were highly civilised people who used the islands on their trade routes, and in fact referred to Malta as Maleth, or “shelter”.
Very few remains of that Punic or Phoenician period survive, but tombs like this one, together with skeletons, flasks, pottery and jewellery have only added our understanding of the era.
What do you think of the discovery?