The first traces of a possible archaeological site date back to 1961 when “traces of masonry and some pottery came to light” during soil clearance works for the building of a new school at Triq Luqa Briffa, in iż-Żejtun. This site kept on being investigated with further archaeological excavations in 1964 and in the period between 1972 and 1977. It was more recently that the site got more attention, when in 2006 the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta embarked on a research excavation project at the Żejtun Roman Villa. The last campaign was held in 2018. The archaeological investigations were intended to assess and record the remains uncovered in 1964 and in the 1970s and other data arising from new excavations at the site. In addition, the fieldwork provided undergraduate students reading for a degree in Archaeology at the University of Malta with the practical skills related specifically to excavation, including on-site recording.
The local NGO, Wirt iż-Żejtun, has been creating awareness about this important archaeological site since 2012, when it organised a symposium followed by the publication “The Żejtun Roman Villa: Research, Conservation, Management”. In July 2020, the organisation acquired the necessary European Union co-funding through the LEADER program managed by the Gal Xlokk Foundation, to work on two interpretative productions about this important site. These consist of a 3D digital reconstruction of the villa and an animated video production describing the olive oil processing during the Roman times. The University of Malta, through the academics and archaeologists from the Department of Classics and Archaeology and Heritage Malta, through the senior curator of Punic, Roman and Early Medieval sites were the esteemed partners in this project. It was only through their academic knowledge and professional input that such project could materialise. Wirt iż-Żejtun engaged Shadeena Entertainment to work on and build up the 3D digital model of the villa and Studio 7 to work on the animated video production respectively.
These two important interpretative elements of the project have been presented to the public on Saturday 25th September, at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta, as part of the on-line platform www.thezejtunromanvilla.com which also includes historical information about this archaeological site and explains in detail the excavations carried out so far and refers to some important discoveries.
The presentation of this project was held at the National Museum of Archaeology in the presence of Hon Dr Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds.