Construction work on new sports facilities for the Missionary College of St Paul came to dramatic halt this week when a collection of catacombs were unwittingly unearthed.
Six catacombs and five tombs were discovered, growing the pool of ancient history existing in the precincts (think St Agatha Catacombs school trips – the new tombs are not far off). The tombs are said to be from the Roman era, making them circa 2000 years old.
The Superintendent of Cultural Heritage, Anthony Pace, confirmed that skeletal remains were found in the tombs. Amongst the bones, which are believed to have belonged to both adults and adolescents, a child’s tooth was found.
The remains will be taken to a laboratory for further investigation in hopes of uncovering a clue to how these ancient islanders died. Luckily, it appears that the graves were totally undisturbed by grave robbers – meaning these remains may be the most exciting look into ancient history that the islands have seen in recent years.
Apart from the ancient bones, some decorated pottery said to also be from the Roman era was found in the catacombs, adding to Malta’s already vast collection of ancient gems from this epoch.
As exciting as all this is for the history buffs, the kids waiting on the side for their sports facilities need not panic. Plans for the school’s sports facilities will need to be somewhat revised, but they will still happen. Happy days!