Archaeologists under the supervision of the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage are currently monitoring on-going excavation works at the Bulebel Industrial Estate, limits of Zejtun, after a number of tombs have been discovered last week.
Some weeks ago, upon issuing of a MEPA development permit, a disused factory has been demolished to make way for a modern extension to the Actavis Ltd factory.
Upon clearing the heaps of building debris after the demolition works and cleaning the rock surface, a number of rock-hewn features have surfaced.
The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage were informed about the discovery took immediate action and started their investigations. The building debris which was still on site continued to be cleaned but under constant monitoring of representatives of the regulatory authority.
Officials from Wirt iż-Żejtun have seen the discovery and noticed that a number of large rock-hewn tombs, possibly four in number, have been discovered. One of the tombs seems to have been partly filled in with concrete during the construction of the original factory, possibly way back in the 1970s. After checking MEPA’s website it does not seem that the area was ever reported to be of archaeological interest, and thus had no such constraints imposed on it.
Close to one of the tombs there is a section through a bell-shaped well. A number of large dressed stone blocks have also been noticed piled up in heaps very close to the rock-hewn features.
An interesting fact is that this site lies approximately 700m North West to the latest similar discovery made during the excavation works for a new hospital off tal-Barrani Road, however the number of tombs discovered so far in this new site is much less than those at tal-Barrani. One should also remark that the size of the recently discovered tombs is much larger than those at tal-Barrani.
The area in question is know as Il-Bur ta’ Wara l-Andar and located along Sqaq il-Merħla. Topographically the site lies at tip of one of the hills which surround the plain of tal-Barrani.
We look forward in reading the reports to be drawn up by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage following the detailed studies which are normally done in the course of such discoveries. We also sincerely hope that the authorities would reach a sensible balance between economic investment and the protection of our cultural heritage, and all paths towards achieving proper mitigation measures to safeguard this discovery are properly considered.