The pottery from the 1972 excavation at the Żejtun Villa

On most archaeological sites, pottery is often the best clue that allows us to understand the basic activities performed by ancient societies in daily life.

Being durable, cheap to produce, and used to make any desired shape, fired clay vessels were the utilitarian objects par excellence of the ancients.  That is why a study of the pottery from a villa site like the one at Żejtun promises to throw important light on past secular activities in a Maltese rural context.  Nearly 40 years after the excavation of the Żejtun villa, several crate-loads of pottery were selected for a detailed contextual study. In doing so, a wealth of new data concerning the span of the site’s occupation and its function have been brought to light. This short paper aims to highlight the methodology used, the types of pottery identified, and presents some results about the function and activities once performed on this site.

 Maxine Anastasi

University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Archaeology from the University of Malta in 2007 and completed a research Master’s degree in Roman archaeology at the same university. She is currently reading for a D.Phil at the University of Oxford looking at how small islands interacted within the trade networks of the Central Mediterranean during the Roman period. She supervises excavations run by the Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta. Her work also includes post-excavation analysis related to the Department’s excavations at Tas-Silġ, Għar ix-Xiħ (Gozo), the Żejtun Villa excavation and the Malta Survey Project.


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